The Pennsylvania Prison Society has had the good fortune to work with the Mural Arts Program over the years. We have combined talents and ideas and have collaborated on projects that advance positive community spirit, enhance public safety, and promote a better quality of life.

Case in point. Families Interrupted is a mural on the side of a church in North Philadelphia. It involved the thoughts and opinions of the local community, the church congregation, returning citizens, families of offenders, youth and other key stakeholders. The message is one of hope but is based on the words and feelings of those in the neighborhood who are impacted by incarceration every day. It is part of the community and adds a presence that is important and thought provoking.

We firmly believe that art plays a critical role in the fabric of our lives. It may depict struggles as shown in Families Interrupted, or it may show nature and river settings. It cuts across obstacles while raising difficult issues in a visual and colorful portrayal of life moments.

Congratulations on 30 years of commitment to Philadelphia and its many walls.

Ann Schwartzman, executive director, Pennsylvania Prison Society, Philadelphia