Marin Arts & Culture MAC_JUNE_upload - Page 40

"She Sings Blessings to the Iron House" by Benjamin Lewis, Jr. : California (colored pens on paper) Visual “Voices” Add to Alcatraz Allure By Valerie Shaw B eginning with the scenic ferry ride to the mysterious forlorn island, and then peeking into the isolated and decaying cell blocks which once housed some of America’s most notorious criminals, none of the more than 100,000 visitors who will tour Alcatraz this spring will suspect that the “band plays on.” Before entering the Alcatraz Band Practice Room, almost at the end of 40 MARIN ARTS & CULTURE the tour, visitors often wax quixotic when they juxtapose the island’s tranquil unspoiled natural habitat and breathtaking vistas with their walk through the steel and stone three-story labyrinth, as they form deep and lasting memories of this monument to the penal system of the 19th and mid-20th centuries. But within the Band Practice Room, adjacent to the Alcatraz book and gift store, visitors will be startled to discover uptown gallery-quality artwork on display from inmates; some are serving life sentences, almost all are self-taught, and all are incarcerated in penitentiaries across the United States.  “The ‘Art Escape at Alcatraz’ exhibit is a collection of more than 40 pieces of art, some colorful and bold, some stark, dramatic and monochromatic,” says Leslie Lakes, curator and executive director