Bryan Jones composes music. An accomplished piano player, he works for the Chamber Music Society of Detroit. Steven Hibbler draws and paints. Harper’s magazine and a UM-Dearborn exhibit have featured his work. Graduate student Penny Kane writes. She won a prestigious U-M Hopwood Award for her non-fiction collection.
Through artistic expression, all three found a sense of freedom while serving prison sentences. They also found — perhaps, more importantly — human connection.
“Artistic expression helped me become more than a number when I was inside (the prison). It’s also helped me create connections in the outside world, too,” said Jones, who guest lectures in the university’s Inside Out program. Jones served time for a robbery he committed as a teen. “Art opens doors and, for me, created a lifeline.” Inside Out, which began on campus 15 years ago, is a project-based learning class that encourages UM-Dearborn students to think about crime and punishment mechanisms in human terms.