A chalk sketch depicts a mother clutching her baby. Her hand is prominent and protective. Her face is sullen and weary. "I call it 'Fatherless Kid,' " said 32-year-old Joseph Hunterel. "It relates to my own life experience and many others like me."

Hunterel is one of 16 Lorton inmates whose artwork was displayed under an inviting weekend sky recently as area residents, city administrators and minimum-security prisoners gathered for an art fair sponsored by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Ward 6C.

"It's our way of showing the concern in this neighborhood for what happens in prisons," said Dianne Dale, coordinator for the fair. "It's mainly a good faith effort to encourage them {Lorton inmates} to think about re-entry and to think about becoming productive citizens."

The fair was set in a section closed to traffic in the 1200 block of V Street SE, between Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and 13th Street -- an area surrounded by business revitalization.

During a brief opening ceremony, city administrators took turns to speak, welcome guests and apologize for officials unable to attend.

"Rehabilitation is not a corrections process," said Benny Hodges of the D.C. Department of Corrections, "it's a community-corrections process. It's a marriage of the community and corrections . . . . This is not the only thing we've done with them {ANC 6}. It will not be the only thing we'll do with them in the future."

Music reverberated from stereo speakers and balloons bobbed in the warm summer breeze as young and old participants made their way from table to table to look at the inmates' artistic creations, ranging from handmade personal greeting cards to oil paintings.

All artists who participated in the Aug. 15 affair are classified as minimum-security prisoners -- most serving time for possession of narcotics or armed robbery.

According to Frank Phillips, a Lorton administrator, this classification means "these men have progressed and are less than two years away from release in most cases."

For 27-year-old inmate Harold Moore, the eldest son of nine children, the day turned into a family affair. With his paintings and sketches as a backdrop, relatives huddled around Moore to pose for a picture.

"The whole family is talented," boasted Moore's sister, Dorethia Jarvis, carrying aluminum-covered dishes filled with home-cooked food the family had prepared for Moore. "Harold's been an artist all his life and practically all of us can sing," she said.

Anticipating release in 18 months, Moore said he hopes to go back to work for the Department of Housing where he worked in maintenance for four years before his arrest.

While some inmates consider their work as a vehicle for possible future business ventures, others simply enjoy it as a hobby or "something to pass the time." Corrections officials said the money from sales at Saturday's fair will be held in the inmates' personal accounts until their release.

Sporting a 35-mm camera that was strapped to his shoulder, William Alston talked about his photographic designs and displayed photographs he had taken in prison dorms. A native of Anacostia, he said he first learned about photography at the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum and has since won contests for his work.

"Anacostia has a lot of families with sons at Lorton," said Al Bartell, an Anacostia resident who works with the ANC. "We are taking an inside look at the prison system. This {art fair} is one program we want to expose to the community."

Eddie Williams' next big step is starting a work-training program in which he will continue to hone his culinary skills. Until then, however, he spends many hours creating woodcrafts and ceramics at Lorton.

Other items for sale at the art fair included handmade leather bags and Indian-weave crafts.

"I never knew I could make such beautiful things with my hands," said Williams, whose carved ships -- made of pine with canvas sails -- were popular items at the fair. Williams said he sold as many as five of his ships at Riverfest in June; some went for $60 or more. "But the money isn't important to me," he said. "I can't spend it in here."