Mural Arts Fights to End the Exception: A National Art Project Exhibition (9/9-18)



Date/ Time

September 9 - 18


Location People’s Plaza, 530 Market St.


The Thirteenth Amendment is celebrated for abolishing slavery, but it contains an exception clause for those who are “duly convicted” of a crime. Today, people who are incarcerated are coerced into labor, paid pennies an hour, or receive no pay at all under the threat of further punishment.

The End the Exception Exhibition is produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia and led by Phoebe Bachman in collaboration with Akeil Robertson-Jowers. Over the last year, the two have worked with the End the Exception Coalition and local partners in Philadelphia to carry out a multi-phased project that engages those most impacted by the exception clause.

Within the exhibition, the effect of the exception clause is narrated through drawings, paintings, and collages by currently incarcerated artists. Alongside these individual perspectives is a diagrammatic mural outlining the larger prison labor system. Visitors can listen to audio recordings played through prison phone booths; the recordings stitch together a narrative of economic punishment that affects not just the incarcerated individuals but their families and communities as well.

Several public programs elaborate on the core themes throughout the exhibition, including “Except for Me,” an End the Exception Coalition initiative featuring a multimedia installation that displays the stories of those legally enslaved in the United States.

Guided Tours of the Exhibit Sept 9-18 Register Be led through the exhibition by individuals impacted by the exception. Tours will last 45-60 mins in duration.

Except for Me Constitution Day Sept 17th, 11-2 pm Register On Constitution Day, Mural Arts is hosting “Except for Me,” an initiative from the End the Exception coalition that spotlights those at the center of modern—and legal—slavery under the 13th Amendment: incarcerated people. Thirteen stories of formerly incarcerated people will be installed as part of a multimedia wall that showcases the stories of those legally enslaved in the United States.