The Prison Arts Collective has its headquarters at San Diego State University. The PAC has chapters at California State University, San Bernardino and California State University, Fresno. 

The Prison Arts Collective evolves from the philosophy and practices of socially engaged art and community activism. Its oversight, development, and organizational structure are consistently influenced by principles of mutuality and collaboration and support creative rehabilitation and principles of restorative justice.

In early 2013, representatives from the California Institution for Men, a state prison in Chino, reached out to CSUSB Professor Annie Buckley about an art program. At the time, Buckley was just starting a new service learning class to expand access to the arts in the local community while providing college students with service learning opportunities. Buckley gathered a group of interested students and faculty to visit the prison. They were impressed by the deep curiosity and hunger to learn that they found among the incarcerated population as well as the institution’s eagerness to support an art program. This visit resulted in an 8-week pilot that was so well received that the program has continued to evolve since that time.


The PAC now facilitates weekly art programming in 10 California state prisons with the support of Arts in Corrections, an initiative of the California Arts Council and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), CDCR Innovative Programming Grants, and a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant. 


We grateful for the opportunity to facilitate transformative arts programming in correctional institutions and the chance to make a positive difference, together with our participants and partners, as part of this collaborative community-based art experience.
—Annie Buckley, founder & director

To learn more about our work, please visit our multiple projects pages.You can also read our philosophy, mission, vision, and core beliefs, our story, and meet our team, supporters, and partners. We welcome you to also visit our gallery to hear from participants.



Photos by Peter Merts

About Us

The Prison Arts Collective works to expand access to the transformative power of the arts through collaboration and mutual learning that supports the development of self-expression, reflection, communication, and empathy through providing multidisciplinary arts programming in correctional institutions.

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© 2018 Community-based Art