June 23, 2020

Orlando Sentinel writer Katie Rice reports on FPEP‘s plans for classes and a UCF Art Gallery exhibit this fall while expanding to online courses.

As an inmate at the Polk Correctional Institution 10 years ago, Jason Fronczek discovered a love for teaching while volunteering in the GED and English as a Second Language programs.

(In the featured image Jason Fronczek instructs students at the Central Florida Reception Center during a Foundations of Art class in fall 2019. Courtesy of the Florida Department of Corrections)

“I saw the looks on the guys’ faces as they were learning and passing these classes, and it just kind of stuck,” he said. “… People are going to learn something while they’re incarcerated. They can learn to be better criminals or they can learn to come out and contribute to society.”

Now, as Fronczek prepares to graduate with his masters in fine arts from UCF, he’s an instructor for the Florida Prison Education Project, which offers classes to inmates at the Central Florida Reception Center, a state prison facility in east Orange County.

Though the University of Central Florida program — now in its second year — was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, it is embracing technology to continue to reach students and eyeing expansion, with the hope to soon offer credit-bearing classes at the CFRC and other state prison facilities.

Meanwhile, FPEP plans to hold an exhibition at UCF starting Aug. 27. “Illuminating the Darkness: Our Carceral Landscape,” will feature work from FPEP’s incarcerated students alongside that of contemporary artists.

Continue reading the full story on Orlando Sentinel.