Close your eyes and picture an art classroom.
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What does the room look like? How do you see the artists?
One thing is almost for certain, you weren't just picturing the inside of a maximum security prison.
However, that's exactly where you can find one at Wellington and the inmates producing the works are part of a rehabilitation program unlike any other in the state.
The program at Macquarie Correctional Centre has been running for roughly five years and a number of art exhibitions have already been held.
However, this week will be the first time the jail will open it doors to allow the public to come inside and see immense talent and the unique perspectives of its inmate artists.
Inmate John (not his real name) has been at Macquarie Correctional for close to three decades.
Having been a gang member in his past life, the idea of telling his old self he would go on to run a successful and life-changing art class is something he now laughs at.
"I was actually a gang member tattooist," he said.
"I've always done art since I was a kid but I ended up getting into tattooing which was a bit of a combination of being in bike gangs and stuff but if you had asked me this 25 years ago I would have thought you were kidding."
Names of inmates have been changed and their faces blurred to protect any victims from seeing the offenders.
It was John and another inmate who really got the program going roughly five years ago.
The magnitude of the impact he has had on those at Macquarie in the time since is difficult to measure.
Classes are held twice a week and there John is often coming across young men who have never picked up a paint brush or even thought of building a sculpture.
"I'm very proud of them," John said.
"Some of them just started off within a year 18 months ago and now they're producing portraits that they can sell for $1000 or $2000.
"It's high quality stuff ... the amount of untapped talent that we've got out here is amazing and it'll be good for the public to see that."
One thing which means the most about this week's 'Inside Art' exhibition - which is open to the public on September 13 before a special viewing for family and friends on September 14 - is the inmates will be present.
An exhibition in January of this year was held at Wellington Arts Centre and John was one of just three inmates able to attend as they were considered low-risk.
"This way, the public get to come in and meet the artists, see what work's been done here," John said.
One of the most fulfilling aspects for John, aside from helping rehabilitate, is seeing in real time members of the public change the way they think about those serving time.
"There's a lot of normal guys who have just made stupid mistakes and ended up here," John said.
"It's amazing when people actually meet prisoners, it's not what they expected.
"They watch all the TV shows and see these maniacs and tattoos. I was a tattooist outside so I'm heavily tattooed but once you start talking to me, you realise I'm just an ordinary guy made some stupid mistakes and I've got a little bit of talent to make a future in painting here."
John's talents are well known by those who have had any connection with the 'Con Artists' program.
He has created a number of major pieces for the prison's chapel while he's created various murals which span great lengths across the prison walls.
That talent is now being shared with others.
One thing which stands out the most with the art being produced is how much of themselves the inmates are putting into it.
That opening up and being vulnerable is not something easy to do, and it takes John time to discover what each of the inmates are really capable of.
"There's a real trick to it," he said.
"A lot of guys, we start them off just copying stuff so that they learn techniques and stuff. But you've slowly got to push them away from their comfort zone into exploring their own personality into their paintings.
"We've had a couple that have really excelled. There's one that's not here, he's in another centre like this, he is a head artist now.
"It's a whole different ball game, opening up your imagination, but we're working on it and I try and push the boundaries with the guys as much as I can."
Seeing John work to help those in the same situation as him is also meaningful to the officers and those who work at Macquarie Correctional Centre.
The centre's governor, Brett Lees, remembers a time he went to pull what he thought was a poster off a wall, only to discover it was a painting by an inmate who had been taught by John.
"It was that good. I thought it was a poster that had been professionally printed," Mr Lees said.
"It's amazing the stuff they come out with and there is a lot of talent there. It just needs to be teased out and having the guys leading the classes themselves, they do tease it out and a lot of stuff we do here at Macquarie revolves around art and that's a big credit to (John) and his offsider here who kicked that off."
Senior Assistant Superintendent at Macquarie, Philip Lindley, describes the art program as "very unique" and that's an understatement.
"It's actually a first, it's never, ever happened before," Mr Lindley said.
"The best thing is seeing the work that the boys are putting in is actually able to be seen and recognised and purchased.
"They really do love their art and it's turned into a bit of a monster now, our art program, it started small but it's a juggernaut and it's getting bigger.
"We've got nearly 200 pieces of art and various sculptures of metal and different things.
"We don't know where we're going to put the stuff, to be honest," Mr Lindley added with a laugh.
But as long as the program keeps working, that mountain of art will only get bigger.
Mr Lindley gets to see what the program can do firsthand and seeing people learn new skills, deal with any potential issues or events from their past through art, and set themselves up for the future is everything he and others at the centre want.
"The whole reason we're there is to change people," he said.
"They've done the wrong thing. They've come inside and we want to change them so they're better people when they get out.
"They're going to come out and be living in the community with us again and we'd rather they're better people when they come out from what they were.
"We see a lot of problem children we've had in centre over the years and over the jail system and they've always been problems but we get them involved in this program and they change into totally different people."
The art skills developed can then be used by the inmates when they are released.
But the program and the exhibitions aren't just for the benefit of the artists.
Those who take part in the program wanted to use it as a chance to help so the entry fees and 25 per cent of all art sales at this week's exhibition will be donated to Orana Support Service, which provides emergency accommodation for community members at risk of homelessness.
"It just shows that there's a little bit of empathy with everyone in here," John said of the charity aspect.
"People think a lot of guys come to jail and feel sorry for themselves, but we really haven't got it that bad.
"We eat better than half the homeless people on the street. It's good to help people less fortunate than ourselves."
Charity is a big part of the programs at Macquarie Correctional and close to $200,000 has been raised over the years for various causes.
In recent years the sale of art has also gone to services like Foodbank NSW, which helped people during the devastating bushfires and floods.
The development of art skills and the compassion and desire to help other people through charity helps prove to people like the centre's governor the program is working.
"I think the biggest thing for me is ... the guys here don't see themselves as inmates anymore and I certainly know John doesn't see himself as an inmate anymore. He identifies as an artist now," Mr Lees said.
"It's a totally different mindset on how the guys see themselves and that's a step in the right direction."
Macquarie Correctional was opened in 2017 to address prison overcrowding across the state.
The first rapid-build jail in Australia, it is an innovative centre where men convicted of serious crimes are encouraged to develop a sense of responsibility for their communities and society.
The inmates, who live in dorms rather than cells, are given a level of trust and can choose their own paths to change, through teaching and learning art, music, language and woodwork.
Recently, around 30 inmates spent six months building two modular homes which have been transported to Cobar for the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO).
All the work on the homes - bar electrical work - was done by the inmates and was engineer-certified.
"Macquarie's renowned for doing things outside the box," Mr Lindley said.
"People don't agree with things we do there but it is a unique environment and we just keep coming up with stuff, but nothing stupid.
"Then, in turn, the inmates are doing good things and they're raising a lot of money for communities."
The people on the inside appreciate things being done differently too.
The State Library of NSW has been documenting the murals and John is one of two inmates offered artist residency there once they finish their sentences.
"I've taken every opportunity they've given me by the horns," John said.
"The jail basically got us into the state library collection which puts us in the ranks of professional artists."
After close to three decades in jail, the prospect of the outside world might be daunting but John knows he'll be taking his art and the skills he's honed at Macquarie with him.
"I'll definitely be doing some sort of career in art and the way things are going, I'll probably be working for Corrections," he said.
Only a handful of tickets remain available for the September 13 'Inside Art' exhibition and they are available through 123Tix.
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