From now through October 15th, you can see artwork by Rikers Island inmates on display at the School of Visual Arts' gallery in Chelsea.

The exhibit, titled "What Gives Me Hope...", showcases work by inmates in art therapy, overseen by Lesley Achitoff, a graduate from SVA's Art Therapy masters program. (Achitoff says she was greatly assisted by Christina Lisi, Merette Gurin, Kendel Bennett, Carol Riddick, Raj Mehra, Merrill Cox and Victor Cox.)

The artists had to be particularly creative given the many common materials that are considered contraband: they could not use scissors, box cutters, paint brushes with metal ferrules, clay, string or yarn, cardboard, pencil sharpeners, glitter, oil paint, staples, or staplers.

"They're very careful about what they use, but no matter what, they're still producing art that has a lot of feeling," Deborah Farber, chair of SVA's Art Therapy program, told us.

Art therapy can be used for either diagnostic or treatment purposes, and uses the power of creative process as a therapeutic technique, Farber explained, adding that she is hopeful that this exhibit will challenge some people's preconceived notions about inmates on Rikers.

"I think if they see this show, they will understand that these are people," Farber said. "They've fallen upon certain circumstances in their life—maybe they made the wrong choice—but they have feelings, they have families, they have creativity. They use the creative process in a very therapeutic way in art therapy. They miss their families. They have hope for the future."

The show opens tonight at School of Visual Arts' gallery from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 132 West 21st Street.