Making Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Benjamin Wills’ outreach to inmates began with letters of support to two acquaintances serving prison terms. Wills wrote to more men and women in confinement, becoming increasingly fascinated by their stories and common struggles with abandonment, lost identity, and sadness. In them, ultimately, he found inspiration and source material for his art.
The Kansas City artist discusses his experiences and how his interaction with prisoners has affected his approach to artmaking. The presentation coincides with Wills’ exhibit Airplanes, on display at the Central Library through March. It features a collection of expressive and revealing paper airplanes that inmates have sent to Wills over the years.