"The Gates of the City", an exhibition of artworks by inmates of the Plovdiv Prison, will be opened at Plovdiv's Municipal Council on 28 June (6:30 pm).

The exhibition is part of the "The Art of Life Through the Life of Art" project of the United Professionals for Sustainable Development Association, and is part of the programme of Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019.

The works are made of found and primitive materials, illustrating inmates' need to break away from their closed everyday environment. By promoting the work with prisoners, the projects seeks to start a dialogue between institutions and society.

All the exhibits will be up for sale, and the proceeds will be donated to children who are being treated in Plovdiv hospitals.

Art programmes for prisoners are becoming more and more common, and their therapeutic benefits increasingly more visible to society. More and more prisons in the world and in Bulgaria view art therapy as a way to work in closed environments. In the words of Emilia Krushkova, one of the project's leaders: "Art projects prove to the prisoners that they are more than those five minutes of their lives when they committed a crime".

As part of the project's programme, two art workshops for the acquisition of practical skills by prisoners – "Spirit Effects" and "Decoupage Techniques" – were implemented in Plovdiv Prison this year. In 2019, as a continuation of their joint artistic activities, the organisers plan to involve prisoners in a theatrical production based on the principle of forum theatre.

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