PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two new artworks several blocks apart, draw attention to the Philadelphia Mural Arts’ Restorative Justice program, which works with people who spent time behind bars, to help them to become productive, when they get out.
Installed on the side of the Friends Center Building at 15th and Race Streets, “The Stamp of Incarceration: Amira Mohamed,” depicts a young woman who was locked up for seven years. She is now out and thriving.
“All of those years that I was incarcerated I was saying ‘I want to do this with my life,’ I was making plans, I didn’t want the mistake that I made to define me.”
Now working for the mural arts program, Amira is pursuing an associates degree in architecture. She thought long and hard about becoming the face of prison reform issues.
“Because so often you feel belittled and like that number, and you can never achieve redemption. But this is proof that you can.”
Another mural, at 12th and Callowhill Streets, that calls attention to life after prison, is a portrait of James Anderson, a reformed gang member. He’s now a student at UCLA.
Both were designed by street artist Shepard Fairey.