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CIW DAY 1: Excerpts from Transcript

The mood in the room was upbeat and positive. We explained the six-week Summer Program to the group. We would be co-creating a multi-disciplinary collaborative art project with the final topic chosen by the participants. We asked how many participants had experience or liked certain types of art:



The activities and number of participants who raised their hands are listed below:

Music / Singing     = two 

Stories/Poetry      = two

Art/Painting           = eight

Sculpture /3D        = three

Knitting / Crafts    = three


Phung began to discuss the Thai Shadow Puppets as an idea for a collaborative project.

She explained that it takes Music, Art, Narration, and more to make this Shadow Play possible.

There were many "oohs and ahs" when Phung showed the pictures of the puppets.

    "Wow that is so beautiful! -  What is it made from?"

Sketchbooks were passed out so the participants could take notes on what they liked or noticed throughout the summer program. This brought a wave of happiness and some participants hugged the sketchbooks. 2 or more even smelled the books and the paper inside. The excitement is real!


Annie showed images of collaborative projects by contemporary artists and from other prison art programs. There were four main categories discussed and the images supported these categories.


Mobiles: two images were shown of mobiles and the question was asked,
    "Where do you find mobiles?"
    "Baby cribs"
    "Front porch" 


Paper Stage: images were shown of a paper stage created in San Quentin. Ideas were discussed as reasons to use the stage:
    “Fashion Show with hand-made paper clothes, Shadow puppet play, dancing stage, poetry 

reads, and singing as well.”


Structures: Images were shown of painted wood poles similar to Native American tree paintings as well as 3D cityscapes created by participants from other prisons. This brought more ideas; a model prison and a "turtle island" were discussed as possibilities for the project.


Diorama: Images were shown of a miniature prison cell and small houses created with various materials.  


The first art session ended with a group photo of all the participants and the instructors. It was recommended that participants use their sketchbooks to reflect on the ideas discussed and brainstorm possibilities for the collaborative art project so we have many ideas to discuss and build upon.

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

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