Recently, the Santa Fe Public Library and the library at the Penitentiary of New Mexico have created a partnership of collaborative programming with a focus on reentry services for inmates upon release. One of the programs to come out of this collaboration is the PNM Art and Poetry inmate exhibition at the Santa Fe Public Library’s Main downtown branch. In the upstairs gallery of the library are artworks and poems by inmates which will be on display now until July 31, 2019.
In order to bring this exhibition inside for the inmates, PNM Prison Librarian Roseanna Andrade placed photographs in the prison library so that the participants and the PNM community can see the artworks and poems as viewed by the Santa Fe community at the public library. In this way, the exhibit is enjoyed simultaneously by both communities.
The exhibit features Native American Artists Isaac Lee (Navajo) and Albert Medina (Zia Pueblo). trio and my relations are by Isaac Lee and Thunder and Janis Joplin are by Albert Medina.
Also, Mr. Brian Dobry, who works as a library clerk at PNM library contributed a poem titled Hatch Chilies to the exhibit. Mr. Dobry will be released in June and has stated that one of the first things he wants to do will be to visit the public library to view the exhibition in person. Mr. Dobry has had the unique experience of working in both a public library (he worked for 11 years at the City of Jacksonville Florida Public Library) and the prison library at PNM. When asked how the collaborative programming between the Santa Fe Public Library and the PNM Library benefits the inmate population he stated that it can help reduce stress through the opportunity to express themselves, helping to ease transition the of reentry and an opportunity to feel appreciated by the wider community. When asked how this type of programming could benefit the Santa Fe community, he stated that the community would benefit from the inmate feeling connected and invested as a potential member of that community.
By recognizing the importance of this type of collaborative programming, the Santa Fe Public Library will help to welcome Mr. Dobry with his reentry into the community.