Some refer to Cañon City in southern Colorado as “prison valley” for obvious reasons. Several state and federal correctional facilities are located there.
It’s practically a way of life for those in Fremont County, and so a local museum has commissioned a mural to showcase life in the prisons.
The Cañon City Daily Record reports on the new artwork:
The mural is a community service project created by staff and offenders from the camp. It was painted as a project of the prison camp’s Creative Arts Platform in collaboration with Pueblo artist Mat Taylor and the museum.
Seven inmates at the minimum-security Federal Prison Camp helped paint the mural inside the Museum of Colorado Prisons in Cañon City. While the Daily Record wasn’t able to identify them, the inmates said the job has been rewarding and hope people who see the wall enjoy it.
The mural is meant to depict the journey from “light to dark” while in the criminal justice system, according to Taylor, who led the project.
The first panel depicts a dark, heavy cloud bearing down on a chain gang, representing the early days of an offender’s incarceration. The next section represents education, religion and the art program, followed by a depiction of an offender “breaking free” and being reunited with his children and family. The final panel features flowers, butterflies and sprigs of new life, representing freedom.
Taylor has become familiar name in the art world in southern Colorado. He’s been commissioned to paint several murals in Pueblo.
“They did a great job considering they’ve never done a mural, and in less than 16 hours, they had to paint it,” he told the Daily Record.
The warden was excited about the mural too. C.R. Goetz told the paper in a statement that it was a good opportunity to give back to the community.
The Museum of Colorado Prisons is located in Cañon City at 201 N. First St.