CIW DAY 2: Excerpts from Transcript

9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

 

Institution was on lock down. No Participants were able to attend.

Teachers and assistants prepared paper structures and discussed the project.

 

At 11:30 a.m. participants began arriving as the lock down was finished.

5 participants arrived and were seated at tables designated by paper styles: flowers made of paper, geometrical designs, and plain paper sculptures. This was a time for participants to practice and explore paper sculpting and 3-D folding.

As the participants worked, instructors were asked about ideas for the collaborative project. The paper stage project came up in dialogue and the idea of it being used in conjunction with a fashion show, complete with paper and other hand-made clothing, was discussed. The paper flowers were very popular. Instructor Jamie created a few different styles for the participants to attempt. 

    "We could give these flowers out like get well cards."
    "Hey, even Happy Birthday flowers!"

The participants practiced this paper sculpting and folding until 12:00pm / Lunch.

 

 

Part 2 

12:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

 

Participants return after lunch. There are many more in the afternoon session. The participants are looking at the tables with the paper creations on them. A lot of them really like Jamie's "wings" that looked like angel wings or butterfly wings. As the instructors set up the room for a discussion, the participants were reminded to be thinking about the collaborative project.
 

The participants had their sketchbooks and we revisited ideas from last Friday.

The Thai Shadow Puppets and the cityscapes / sculptures were very popular.

To enhance the generation of ideas, we looked at images, and discussed.

 

Phung began discussing the creation of an artistic experience and installation. 

She showed an image that expressed this experience and the participants were so excited.

    "Wow" 

"The shapes look like a bowl of water" (translated from Spanish to English)

Phung explained the collaborative process more by saying Many in Body, One in Mind.

 

The group began to discuss how to use the entire room for this project. I explained that we could "use the whole room as a space; it is not just a little drawing - all 4 walls, the floor, ceiling, and the air inside."

Norma mentioned how the air was special to her.  And she was glad to hear it mentioned; she explained that her dream world contains fairies and the like, and they live in this air.

 

The question was asked, "How can the art be transformative, an experience?"

The participants exclaimed, "art is emotions" and "life experience is shown through art."

 

We asked about what type of art experiences the participants had, collages and weaving were brought up. The participants still seemed to have some hesitation to decide on a focus for the main project.

More images were passed around, including a yarn rainbow, and participants really enjoyed viewing this one. Another series of images were passed around which displayed a stack of colored papers that were cut to fold upon themselves creating a rainbow colored delight which cannot be described in such short words. The participants really enjoyed this idea and were smiling and talking about it.

 

Another attempt was made to decide the project topic but there were still many ideas floating around.


We began to discuss responses to the reflection questions. Annie reads each question:

 

What is important to you in life?

     "human kindness" 

     "not enough in here (human kindness)" 

     "embracing all art, good or bad" 

     "circles, because they mean forever"

What would we change in the world?

     "Pollution" and the group nodded in agreement

     "Incarceration as a business" 

     "animals as food, treated differently" 

     "Change the packaging of animal lives" 

     "A life is not a pretty package" 

     "Stop the wasting of food" 

     "take away starvation"  

     "Why do we have hungry kids, yet our people are going in to space? I don't understand it!"

What would you change?

     "need more people to help those who live in darkness" 

     "all my family to read the bible"

     "Change our culture from celebrity worship to democracy, freedom, and sustainability." (3 people agreed with this idea)

     "eliminate life sentences" 

     "create safe environments for the youth" 

     "end hatred" 

     "fight homelessness" 

     "don't forget about the homeless" 

     "change the treatment of animals especially in food"  

     "Bring people up instead of down" 

    "Art should make us look beyond ourselves to what could be."

 

The participants really started getting excited and the ideas were flowing freely.

Using a space to bring people together as one.

Allowing people to do art on a wall, like graffiti (guest participation)

Symbols with a story narrative

Using space to show a journey, perhaps a prisoner from dark to light

Art will represent this transformation.

A popular idea was to write little stories on the bottom of rocks or other items, and then place them outside around the prison grounds. (need permission for this)

 

The collective group was broken in to smaller groups to discuss ideas.

Some of these ideas are as follows:

A Maze with learning stations

Not all inmates have the same experiences. 

Not everyone takes the most frequently walked path. I want to show this.

Create eye masks to see the world differently.  Use feathers and "Soar above"

 

At this point, the participants started to evolve the mass of ideas into a Labyrinth with several stations. A city will be inside that reflects where participants are from. There should be a place to house nature. They want to have a cell and also a dream section to show the place that is above here.

 

We want to show how a normal life can change quickly. Not every inmate is bad       going in. One mistake can change everything.

 

The dream time can show that "creation and arts come from dreams.

     "We must persevere."

     We could use eyeglasses to show different ways that people view things and experiences.

     We need to show the "going up " with hot air balloons, clouds, to help the dream experience.

     An environmental mobile was an idea. This could be a beach with slides, and sea life.

     A very popular idea was to create different shoes.  All sizes and styles.  This would create an experience of walking in another                person's shoes.  Could you handle walking in my shoes?

 

As the group time was ending, we had a quick discussion to see who would help with each idea.

  • Creating rocks with messages and random shoes would be: Mingo, Julie, and Rose.

  • Creating shoes with different sizes and styles would be: Mingo, Julie, and Rose.

  • Creating the city would be: Kami, Patty, Patti, Norma, Debra

  • Creating the dream/fantasy would be: Patti, Brandi, Norma, Debra

  • Creating people that would visit the city are: Inez, Leti, and Valerie.

  • We ended the session, with a loose idea of the project. The participants were excited and happy to begin. They were eager to leave the planning stage and get to the creation stage. Everyone decided that they will create individual pieces on their own time and bring them to the next session.  

 

Side note **Almost all the participants brought their sketchbooks with them and many had written inside, drawn pictures within, and even decorated the outsides of the books. 

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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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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