Ray Gray was sentenced to life in prison for a murder in 1973. Some believe he’s been wrongly convicted and are working for his release, but his nearly half-century behind bars has opened doors to becoming a prolific painter, working in acrylics. Now, his paintings are for sale to raise money for legal help for a new hearing.

Gray is one of hundreds of artists in Michigan prisons whose work is featured annually in an exhibition by the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan. While the show is usually help in person, 2020 saw the exhibition move online because of the pandemic. One Detroit’s Bill Kubota learned how work by incarcerated artists is held in high regard by arts faculty at the school, and Gray’s challenges in a prison where so many are now infected with COVID-19.

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