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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 prisoners 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.

All 20 original animated films are screened during all public tour hours, included with admission.

During the day, the films are on view at the intersection of Cellblocks 2, 10, and 11. During Night Tours, the films are projected onto a section of the penitentiary's 30-foot high wall in the Cellblock 7 courtyard.

To learn more about this project and watch the films online, visit Pew Center for Arts and Heritage LogoHiddenLives.org.

Major 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