Unlock the talent inside

Since 1962 the Koestler Awards have played a unique, national role in motivating prisoners, secure hospital patients and immigration detainees to take part in the arts. The Koestler Awards are simple and powerful – we reward achievement, build self-confidence and broaden horizons for some of society’s most disadvantaged and marginalised people.

Our work harnesses the uniquely transformative power of the arts to help individuals learn the skills and gain the confidence to live creative, positive and productive lives. Each year we receive more than 7,000 entries from over 3,500 entrants across the UK in 52 categories. More than 2,000 Awards are granted by over 100 esteemed judges, and each year culminates in a curated exhibition at Southbank Centre which showcases the incredible power of the arts to transform lives.

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  • First Impressions -
    Portraits from Prisons

Tooth Pick Lady - Don't Go to the Dentist in Prison!, Camden and Islington Probation Service, Portrait, 2017

First Impressions – portraits from prisons

Curated by Koestler Arts, at the invitation of the Prisons Mission of Churches Together in Westminster

21 March – 10 June 2018

> Click here to see a selection of the artworks in the show.

Koestler Arts and The Prisons Mission present an exhibition touring central London churches throughout 2018. The tour begins at St James’s Piccadilly, and continues to Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church and St Martins-in-the-Fields.

The Prisons Mission is an initiative of Churches Together in Westminster (CTiW) which provides support and assistance identified and needed by the multi-faith Chaplaincy Teams in prisons. It also aims to ensure that prisons while out of sight are not out of mind.

The exhibition showcases a selection of portraiture and sculpture entered into the 2017 Koestler Awards from across the UK. The artworks highlight the skills and talents of people in prisons and other secure settings and represent the strength of work that is entered into the awards scheme every year.

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