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Hidden Lives Illuminated

Hidden Lives Illuminated featured original animated films by currently incarcerated artists. Debuting in August 2019, 20 newly commissioned short films were projected onto the façade of Eastern State Penitentiary for 29 nights. Visitors watching the films on bleachers outside along Fairmount Avenue

Free and open to the public, the films were coupled with community programming including presentations by scholars, activists, victims’ advocates, and elected officials. Hands-on activities also provided viewers a chance to reflect on the films and discuss social and criminal justice issues. Guests inside the Event Hub engaging in art making and other activities

The stories told by people incarcerated at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Chester and Philadelphia’s Riverside Correctional Facility for Women offer a rare look inside America’s correctional system, conceived, narrated, and animated by incarcerated people.

To learn more about this project and watch the films online, visit

Pew Center for Arts and Heritage LogoMajor support for Hidden Lives Illuminated has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner