Above: Evie Griffin, center, led the OBU art project that became an opportunity to draw closer in Christian fellowship.
LEXINGTON—A group of Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) art students recently had a unique opportunity. They connected with incarcerated inmates who are enrolled in the OBU Prison Divinity Program and teamed up to paint a mural in a classroom at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center in Lexington.
The project was aimed at transforming the space provided by the prison for the program into an inspiring place to study the Bible and learn about theology.
“The students at the Lexington Center had been wanting to do a mural for a while now, so they reached out to us,” explained Corey Fuller, OBU chair of art and design. “I contacted Evie Griffin, who is president of our art club. A student named Vanessa Myers developed the original artwork; Evie took that and adapted it and built into the artwork the Prison Divinity building that they actually meet in. It was so good that she was able to customize it that way.
“Evie took the bull by the horns and led the project of painting the mural,” Fuller continued. “The Prison Divinity students were gracious hosts and really made the mural their own, adding a few of their own embellishments as well. A couple of those guys were abundantly talented, really good with lettering and with graphics and knew how to handle a brush.”
Griffin said the project was a good way for the students of both campuses, the OBU Shawnee campus and those in the Lexington Program, to draw closer in Christian fellowship.
“It was a way to really see each other and dream together,” Griffin explained, “and use art as an outlet for getting to be fellow Bison and brothers and sisters in Christ in ways I never thought was possible.
“I have never experienced so much light and joy of the Lord in people as I did in these men we painted with,” Griffin beamed. “I learned much from them and enjoyed getting to know them while working together on a mural that portrayed how we are all connected in one way or another.”
A page on the OBU website explains the purpose of the OBU Prison Divinity Program as a means of equipping and sending inmates to minister to fellow-inmates in the Oklahoma prison system.
“Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU), Oklahoma Baptists and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections are partners in a historic endeavor in Oklahoma,” the website states. “OBU is offering a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Studies to inmates in an Oklahoma prison. Upon completion of their degrees, these men will be sent as Field Ministers to other prisons across the state.”
The OBU Prison Divinity Program is a joint effort with Oklahoma Baptists. For more information about the OBU Prison Divinity Program visit, okbu.edu/theology/prison-divinity.