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Safe Streets Arts Foundation: International Publicity for Our Prison Art Show

Canadian Radio Station Interview about our Upcoming Pano Prison Art Show

(Listen to It at Your Leisure)


Listen to our interview

 live on Monday, June 8, 10:30 pm Eastern time on a prominent Vancouver, Canada radio station at or, if you miss it, listen to the podcast at


The subject of the radio interview is

 our upcoming free art show featuring "Pano" art created in prisons across America. This is a special show called "Pano in American Tradition" at Takoma Park Community Center (Gallery 3), 7500 Maple Ave, Takoma Park, Maryland from June 12 to July 25, 2009. The art is part of the collection of the Safe Streets Arts Foundation, which operates the Prison Art Gallery in Washington DC. The opening reception will take place on June 12 from 6 to 9 pm, and will feature live music by ex-prisoner guitarist Dennis Sobin, who has performed at the Kennedy Center.
Paño art draws on the deepest emotions of prisoners whose artistic expression is limited only by the materials at hand. The word paño (Spanish for cloth or handkerchief) has come to mean the art form itself -- a ball point pen or colored pencil drawing on a handkerchief.
Scholars have yet to determine the origin of paño art but some believe that it emerged in the 1940s among Chicano prisoners in the Southwestern United States who drew on the handkerchiefs or torn bed sheets. They do this because finding materials for artistic expression is difficult.
The portable and economical aspects of the Paño (handkerchief) allow prisoners to share their work with family and friends, use in bartering, and to mentally escape prison life. Today paño art is associated with Chicano inmates around the country, both male and female, who neatly fold paños into envelopes and mail them to loved ones.
Paños typically depict prison life, loved ones, dreams, memories, or personal experiences. Paño artists take much of their imagery and inspiration from the larger visual arts vocabulary of Chicano art conspicuous in murals, posters, low rider cars, graffiti, and tattoos. 
Most prisons offer handkerchiefs for sale in the commissary and tacitly sanction the art. Panos are collected in great numbers by convict patrons. The Smithsonian Museum has a pano collection, recognizing the uniqueness of this art form.
The Safe Streets Arts Foundation, incorporating both the Prisons Foundation and the Victims Foundation, is the sponsor of the annual From-Prison-to-The-Stage Show at the Kennedy Center and the Prison Art Gallery in Washington, DC. It is supported through the generosity Lloyd S. Rubin, ex-prisoner and international arts consultant.

For more information about the free Pano art show sponsored by the City of Takoma Park and taking place at the Takoma Park Community Center (Gallery 3) from June 12 to July 25, 2009, contact Stéphan Janin at:  [email protected]

"The Safe Streets Arts Foundation, incorporating both the Prisons Foundation and the Victims Foundation, is proud to sponsor the annual From-Prison-to-The-Stage Show at the Kennedy Center and the Prison Art Gallery at 1600 K Street. NW, Suite 501, Washington, DC, three blocks from the White House."

Takoma Park, MD
United States

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