“Catching Dreams” – Rehabilitation through Art

Closing at the end of the month at the South Bank Centre in London is an exhibition  of art created by a unique group of artists – prisoners, offenders on community sentences, secure psychiatric patients and immigration detainees.  “Catching Dreams” is the seventh exhibition in collaboration with the Koestler Trust the prison-arts charity and not only displays a wide range of artwork, it has also been curated by by eight ex-offenders who completed a programme of mentoring with the Koestler Trust’s artist mentors.

The range of art is broad and of impressive quality.  The sculptures make imaginative re-use of scrap materials and the quality of the woodwork and the ceramics would match that seen in many Mayfair galleries.

Similar programmes exist elsewhere – in Mexico, prisoners create “designer” leather goods – purses, handbags, ipad holders and the like using tattoo designs, which are sold in retail outlets, for example in Playa de Carmen, and in New York RTA (Rehabilitation Through the Arts), founded in Sing Sing in 1996, is active in five New York State prisons with imaginative programs in theatre, dance, creative writing, voice and visual art, using the creative arts as a tool to change the lives of prisoners.

Art can make a difference!


  • Chessboard from HM Prison Wakefield
  • Blubird Massive Group of 13 - Acrylic on Recycled Car
  • Diversity Group from HM Prison, Everthorpe
  • Paul from HM Prison, Kirklevington Grange - sculpture from scrap metal

One Response

  1. “Create and Curate” – How creative arts can change lives for prisoners

    […] Vale and compliments the work of the prison-arts charity, the Koesler Trust, whose exhibition “Catching Dreams”  was shown in the South Bank Centre in London in […]

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