Inmates' Airplanes represent the forgotten In Kansas City Library Exhibition

Rebecca Crockett
March 29, 2019 - 5:00 am


Kansas City, MO - For years, Benjamin Wills, an art professor at Washburn University, has been writing letters to inmates, asking them to send paper airplanes, but he gives them no further instructions. Hundreds have responded, and each in their own unique way.  

"All the different kinds of paper, the different ways that they decorate them. You know, the folds and the different styles, have all been these really wonderful kind of stand-ins for individuals and individual expression," explains Wills. 

He's received nearly 500 airplanes, but one in particular stands out among the rest. It was created with green paper and on the side was written, "I just want to be remembered."

Wills has created an exhibition to display the planes. It's at the Kansas City Central Library through the end of March. 

He says 70% of inmates are going to be released back into society, "Creating a positive experience with them before that release happens, I think can be a crucial step in their rehabilitation." 

 Wills is hosting a workshop at two on Saturday at the Central Library location on 14 West 10th Street.  You can write your own letters to inmates with his guided assistance. 

 He says it's an overwhelming and rewarding experience. You can go online to register at

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