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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Unique Independent Study Art Exhibition

The exhibit’s entrance showcased Levitt’s name and the title of the show. His piece, “Hard Rock #3,” can be seen on the right, introduces “The Curved Wall” collection. Photo by Holly Ward.
Flyers available for people to take describing the Independent Study scholarship, The Levitt Fund, and displaying a QR code which led to Levitt’s Instagram. Photo by Holly Ward.
“Naatural Beauty,” an acrylic on canvas panel painting, was prominently featured at the end of “The Curved Wall.” Photo by Holly Ward.

Christopher Levitt, a 38-year-old Colorado State University Pueblo independent study student, showcased his artwork from prison on Sept. 8.

Tited “Expressions Unbound: Time, Space, and Self – An Inmate’s Exploration of Art,” the exhibit featured around 20 pieces of art produced by Levitt for sale. The proceeds from his sales, in combination with donations from the community, go towards the Levitt Fund, that is “designed to help fund Higher Education opportunities for students who are incarcerated in the United States.”

The art exhibit took place at CSU Pueblo’s Art and Music Building in the Fine Art Gallery known as “The Curved Wall.” The show was a collaborative effort between Levitt, his instructor Meg Olsen, Chair of the Department of Art and Creative Media, Aaron Alexander, and Dean of Extended Studies, Katherine Starkey. 

Rebecca Knight, the Independent Study Program Coordinator, talked with Levitt over the phone about once a week and coordinated the arrival of his pieces. Levitt shipped his work from Michigan, where he remains in prison.

“It’s a wonderful thing that he’s doing. He’s making this beautiful artwork and at the same time he knows he can’t get the proceeds from it, but he is donating the proceeds to creating this scholarship,” Alexander said.

In preparation for the show, the directors had a local professional appraiser come in and look at Levitt’s work to give them an idea of the value of the artwork to put up for sale. Knight also arranged for Levitt’s family to be in attendance during the show.

The opening art exhibit saw around 20 to 30 attendees. “The Curved Wall” is in the main hallway off the School of Creativity and Practice lobby. The hosts of the art show offered cards to attendees to write their comments about Levitt’s work to give Levitt feedback. Levitt will receive an envelope from the university in the mail containing these cards from the show.

“People chatted, but more importantly, people stayed,” Alexander said. “It’s not so much a measure of how many people come, as much as it is how long people stay when they get there.”

Admissions were free for the art show and people can continue to see the exhibit for free until late November.

Alexander described the success of the opening show based off how long attendees stayed to talk about the artwork. Instead of people showing up, doing the round, and receiving their refreshments before leaving, the people who attended the show stayed almost the whole time to talk about the artwork.

“I think that this is unique,” Alexander said. “A single student is producing this much quality work, and he’s not even finished with his degree. He’s still working through more of it.”

The Independent Study Program has served incarcerated students for years. The office processes print-based homework so incarcerated students can utilize mail services. Levitt has asked the university to work towards creating more art courses for independent study because of how it has changed his life.

The Extended Studies office received thank you cards after the show was over that were drawn by someone who was taught by Levitt. “He’s taking the skills he’s learning in these courses and teaching the folks that he’s around and it’s pretty remarkable,” Starkey said.

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