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Lorton Art Program showcases prisoners' creative talents

A painting by a prisoner in the Lorton Art Program. (NewsChannel 8)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (NewsChannel 8) – A new art exhibit opening at a Rockville retirement community is generating a lot of buzz, because the artists aren't your average painters.

Mia Choumenkovitch started The Lorton Art Program nearly 40 years ago and has been transforming inmates into artists ever since.

"They're all residents of the D.C. Department of Corrections," Choumenkovitch says of the artists in the latest exhibit.

The work will be on display through November at Ingleside at King Farm in Rockville, where it's been getting rave reviews.

"The quality of it is just amazing," said Flora Feld, a resident.
"People are questioning about the technique," Lieta Gerson, another resident, added.

Most of the pieces are on sale for a couple hundred dollars. The money will go to the inmates, their families, and back into the program to help other artists hone their craft.

"We like to give back to our communities. So, this is one of the ways we can give back," Lynn O'Connor, CEO of Westminster Ingleside Retirement Communities, said of the exhibit.

Flora Feld hopes the program will continue setting artists free.

"I would hope that it would lead to some rehab, you know. And that they'll carry it out once they leave the prison," she added.

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