Restorative Justice Online
"The documentary tells about the thorny evolution of an art project meant to unite inmates and the community."
-- Kate Strong, (Read full review)
"A simple prayer-like message: here I am; we are here"
- Anne Marie-Roderick, (Read full review)
"This movie should change the way we look at prison, reform and reconciliation."
- Reverend Tom Johnson- Medland, (Read full review)
“An extraordinary film. In intimate fashion, it chronicles the ability of art to facilitate some of the most difficult dialogues possible—those that occur between offenders and victims. The convergence of these separate realities as depicted in Concrete, Steel & Paint will inspire thoughtful discussion wherever it is shown.”
- Grady Hillman, Director, Center for Community Arts, Texas State University-San Marcos
“CONCRETE, STEEL AND PAINT insists that we ask questions about the nature of justice, and through the profound story of victims and prisoners creating together, it helps us to answer them. This film resonated with me long after it ended, and it is as important a film about mercy as I have ever seen.”
- Jean Trounstine author, SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS: The Power of Theatre in a Women's Prison
"A portrait of a remarkable bridge-building arts project." Read full review…
“Concrete, Steel and Paint” is a documentary film about what happened when a group of prisoners, some of them serving time for murder, meet with people who lost family members because of violent crime. In their anguished face-to-face encounters, prisoners hear of the pain their visitors live with every day of their lives while the visitors discover that the men they are meeting not only suffer remorse but want to do something constructive with the rest of their lives. The results of their encounters are finally expressed in the creation of two huge murals on nearby walls in the Germantown area of Philadelphia.
At its midway point, the hard dialogue between prisoners and victims leads one participant to wonder if any good will come out of it. “We only seem to have opened up old wounds,” she remarks. But in the end, while healing is still a work in progress, it has come far enough for prisoners and crime victims to work side by side in painting the two murals. It’s clear that no one involved will be quite the same as the result of their experience. “Even if you connect only for a brief moment,” says a prisoner serving a life sentence Foer murder, “the moment is reflected on those walls for us.”
“There is something about creating beauty that reaches people and gives us hope that things can be changed,” says Jane Golden, the woman who launched the project. She directs the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and also teaches mural painting and community arts at the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr and Princeton University.
The co-directors, Cindy Burstein and Tony Heriza, have created not only a portrait of a remarkable bridge-building arts project, but of two communities, one inside the walls of a maximum security prison and one a neighborhood in which most people are black and poor and in which violent crimes happen far too often.
"Concrete Steel and Paint is a great contribution to the field of corrections and education."
– Stephen J. Steurer, Executive Director Correctional Education Association (Read full review)
“This documentary is a great instrument to introduce the concept of restorative justice. It depicts the true struggles of trying to balance the rights and feelings of all involved, victims, offenders and the community. It does so by taking you down a true journey of pain, healing and compromise that many face in the aftermath of crime. This film will inspire great dialogue in many settings.”
– Judy Cruz-Ransom, Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy
“Artists and their collaborators know that the healing power of art is miraculous, but it can be challenging to convey that knowledge to those not directly involved. Concrete Steel & Paint rises fully to that challenge. Viewers will feel and understand the complex human processes, the multiple truths, and the remarkable depth of making art in community. I recommend it without reservation."
- Arlene Goldbard, Author, New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development