March 24, 2017
If you have not had an opportunity to experience the Cedar Key Arts Center March Gallery offering “From the Inside,” you have only several more days to do it. 
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“From the Inside” is a display of the selected works of women prisoners at the Florida Women’s Reception Center at Ocala’s Lowell Prison who are under the tutelage of the Journey Daybook Program, a 501c3, created by Cedar Key resident Peggy Herrick.  
As its website notes, the Journey Daybook cooperative   “offers participants a heightened sensibility of themselves and the world around them. Participants learn the process of making and illuminating a personal journal in order to discover their artistic sensibilities. This process nurtures the spirit, serves as a catalyst for greater harmony, and provides a unique artistic legacy.”
And, indeed, the program does just that.   When you go to the gallery, you’ll enter a room with ceiling-to-floor black bars where you are on the “inside” reminiscent of being imprisoned.   Further transporting you to the “inside” is videotape which captures some prisoners speaking about their Daybook experiences. 
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The videotape attests to these Journey Daybook offerings.  The prisoners speak directly to the camera and reflect on what the Daybook experience has meant to them, there, imprisoned for varying lengths of time.  LaTesha says her drawings allow her “to be with her kids” as she shows her picture capturing her son fishing.  Deborah reflects on the quiet and pleasure of the dogs she cared for before prison and has no access to now.  Miss P says Journey Daybook is “an opportunity to touch goodness,” and teaches her “how I can change my life.”  Celeste says the process is “a new way to express myself,”  and says she is “working on changing myself around.”
On the video, Journey Daybook Creator Peggy Herrick and Prison Project Coordinator Barbara Beyton explain that they and volunteers go to the prison and work with women in small groups teaching them units in drawing, painting, design, collage, and writing.  The program has trained 51 women thus far.
For the past four years, Herrick, Robin Gillies, and Patty Jett, also from Cedar Key, volunteered to facilitate the program at the prison.