Are You A Visionary?
Last weekend, my husband and I went to prison—that is to say, we took a walking tour of Eastern State Penitentiary in downtown Philadelphia.
Once home to mobster Al Capone and other notorious criminals, Eastern State is now a museum containing defunct barbershops, inmate escape tunnels, stories of prison births, art installations, and more. In the 1970s, a visionary group of Philadelphians invested time and money to establish Eastern State as a historical site.
Despite their efforts, I truthfully wasn’t expecting much—a dry, quick tour at best. I couldn’t have been more surprised. Within the prison’s cold, concrete walls, I had one of the most moving immersive experiences in recent memory.
Apokaluptein:16389067, a mural by artist and inmate Jesse Krimes, stood out. Over the course of several years, Krimes created a surreal landscape on prison-issued sheets. Using hair gel as a transfer agent, he screen printed images from the New York Times on 39 panels (see top right image). Krimes’ dream-like collage made me ponder how the human spirit responds to challenging circumstances.
The tour raised issues for me that go far beyond prison walls. All of us are shaped by moments we’ve endured. Hardship is often a disguised opportunity to transform ourselves.
Those visionary Philadelphians saw what many others could not. Today, their work stands apart, shedding light on the human condition for the benefit of future generations. But what about your stories of endurance and transformation? I wonder, how could we help you pass on your hard-won lessons?
StoryKeep exists to work with visionaries like you.