By Frank Lewis
Mike Shane has plans for what he wants to do with his highly artistic talents when he is released from prison.
“I’d like to tutor kids and use it to help keep kids off the streets, not of the life that I went through,” Shane, from Coshocton, Ohio, told the Daily Times. “Because this has helped me turn my life around and I would like to help other people with it.”
One of the people he is helping is Dwight Tupper, who also worked on the murals. Both were on hand to talk about their creations.
Shane has, along with other inmates, created what is known as “Veterans Corridor,” at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, and Thursday, veterans from around the area including a large group from James Dickey Post 23 of the American Legion, toured the facility with the highlight being the corridor of artwork that includes all branches of the U.S. military and various outfits including Portsmouth’s former 216th Engineer Batallion of the Ohio Army National Guard.
“I learned how to do this by just spending time by myself,” Shane said. “It’s something I love to do and it’s how I keep myself busy; how I keep myself out of trouble and how I keep focused.”
What amazed the people on the tour was how each piece of work was scaled to be the same size as the one next to it.
“I draw them out on a graph,” Shane said. “I’ll start with a 5 by 7 photograph, and I’ll graph it out and blow it up. One inch equals a square foot. I just blow them up as a graph and draw them on the wall with markers.”
SOCF warden Donald Morgan said there are many talented inmates who can do things from painting to pencil art, even quilts for veterans.
“Some of the offender population out here have talents that have been displayed down on Second Street (Portsmouth) in the Boneyfiddle section of town,” Morgan said. “There’s art programs that they try to participate in and improve their skills, but there’s others that are incarcerated out here that have actually had published art work. It is amazing the amount of talent that is out here.”
Corrections Officer Darren Mustard said this is a tribute to veterans
“The walls just needed something on them, and I served in the Army, so we started getting flags put up and other officers and staff members told us things they would like to see, and my brother was in the ‘Big Red 1’ and we put it up, and then started going down the hall” Mustard said. “With other veterans that work here, like those in the 101st (Airborne), we started putting up patches. This is Lucasville’s personal tribute to veterans.”
Morgan said the various veterans organizations had requested the tour which included several parts of the institution.
“This is just a small token of appreciation where we can show our appreciation to our veteran staff members as well as all the veterans within Scioto County and the surrounding counties, and their duties to our country,” Morgan said.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.