The multidisciplinary art performances presented in depth on this exhibition site were created by men and women who are incarcerated in the state of California. The projects were developed in workshops facilitated by a collaborative team of faculty, students, and professionals associated with the Prison Arts Collective, a project of the Community-based Art program at California State University, San Bernardino. Fourteen men and twenty-three women participated in the project at two prisons, the California Institution for Men and the California Institution for Women, respectively. They worked with a team of artists, faculty, and students for just six short weeks, approximately 6 hours per week, during the summer of 2017.
The participants were invited to reflect on what social issues matter to them, brainstorm how to address these issues through multidisciplinary art, and collectively decide on and create a project utilizing at least three arts disciplines. The resulting projects are titled, “Redemption” at the California Institution for Men and “City without a Name” at the California Institution for Women. This site documents the planning, implementation, reflection, and final result of these projects. We hope that the work inspires you artistically, personally, and communally. In viewing this work and the artists’ process, we invite you to reconsider stereotypes about people in prison and reflect on the issue of mass incarceration in the United States with an open mind and empathy for individuals and communities. Thank you.
I love art. It helps relax and keeps me grounded.
I feel more secure when expressing myself artistically.
—Michelle, participant, “City Without a Name”
This project is generously funded by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works Grant in the category of Multidisciplinary and Presenting — Additional support comes from Arts in Corrections, an initiative of the California Arts Council and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This project would not be possible without the support of the Department of Art, the College of Arts and Letters, and Research and Sponsored Programs at CSUSB. Accounts and administrative services were provided by the University Enterprises Corporation in association with CSUSB.