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Prison Envelope Art

Prison Letter Envelopes as Art


The Prison Library Project will be having a mail art exhibition and invites inmates, families, and those who look to improve the lives of those incarcerated to participate:

The Prison Library Project receives hundreds of letters every week from inmates across the country. These letters requesting books and dictionaries are often beautifully illustrated. In the spirit of these talented prison artists, the Postmarked show was created, using the envelope as a canvas to create and share mail art.

The art of letter writing and the use of “snail mail” is on the decline, a casualty of the electronic age. But who among us does not smile when we received a letter in our mailbox? Who doesn’t thrill to fine art instead of junk mail and bills? The Postmarked show is a chance for all of us to reconnect with the magic of “snail mail” while helping a population whose voice, if heard at all, is limited to the humble envelope, letter, and pen.

Interested participants may decorate, illustrate or create art on an envelope and mail it in for the Postmarked mail art exhibition and fundraiser.

Only the side with the official USPS Postmark/barcode will be displayed. Mail art may be painted, stamped, collaged, painted, decorated, or constructed. It may be any shape and size that will go through the mail and receive an official postmark.

“Mail may get worn or torn through the mail, but the handling process is an important part of the theme,” says organizer, Rachel McDonnell

Mail will be opened only by the person who purchases the art envelope.

The Prison Library Project is a prison book and literacy program which sends thousands of books, study aids, educational and spiritual resources to inmates nationwide.

Image of Prison Envelope Art