The curriculum is co-created by teaching artists, faculty mentors, and staff. It is based on a learner-centered philosophy that actively engages participants in inquiry, discussion, creative and critical thinking, reflection, interpretation, and making. Participant knowledge is recognized and valued throughout, and can be fostered through opportunities for shared learning and co-teaching as relevant. Teaching teams and participants actively co-create a safe space for creativity and expression.

The core curriculum consists of the following courses:

Foundations in Art

The Foundations In Art course teaches participants the basic principles of art, while discussing and experimenting with new techniques. During each section of the program, participants will learn about a new artist that relates to the new style, also learning new vocabulary and engaging in group reflections to enhance their understanding.

Art Appreciation

Participants will practice art using a variety of mediums and techniques also learning about art from the stone age to the present. They will begin to understand the vast influences of art in past and present societies and how its importance affects our lives.

Introduction to Drawing

Participants will learn the fundamentals of drawing to complete works of art. They will learn the basic techniques of shading, blending, creating a value scale, and using the grid method.

Art History and Critique

This course focuses on teaching participants how to interpret works of historical art and critique them based on skills learned in this course. Participants will learn to see art through the perspectives of others and improve their communication skills.

Portfolio Development

Participants will learn to incorporate their work into career planning by creating a portfolio and learning basic professionalism. They will also learn to organize their work in a show and cater it to a certain audience or event.

Other classes and workshops include:

Collaborative Mural Workshops

 The goal of this workshop is for participants to enhance their understanding of the connections between the multiple courses they have taken such as drawing, painting, and creative writing. They will learn to see them as a cohesive whole rather than individual fields and comprehend the importance they have in their lives as artists.

Printmaking Workshop

During the printmaking course, participants learn various printmaking techniques and apply them to their personal work, while drawing inspiration from distinguished printmakers in the art world. Participants will also engage in guided reflection to gain better understanding of themselves and the artwork.

Creative Writing Workshop

Participants will learn to write various styles of writing ranging from traditional reviews to poetic responses. They will read analyze and reflect on a variety of written works and develop a familiarity with the formalities of writing. The class will be geared towards contemporary artists and artists from the twentieth century.

Patterns Around the World

Patterns Around The World integrates multicultural history and art. Participants learn about world cultures and the art they create. Then they will make original artworks inspired by these cultures and reflect on them.

Introduction to Music

Participants will learn the basics of guitar such as reading tablature, musical notation, and basic chords. Participants will also be able to interact with one another through song and rhythm.

Contemporary Crafts

Patterns Around The World integrates multicultural history and art. Participants learn about world cultures and the art they create. Then they will make original artworks inspired by these cultures and reflect on them.

Color Theory

This course focuses on the fundamentals of color theory teaching participants color mixing, perception of color in art, and color harmonies and contrasts. They will create paintings and engage in guided group reflection. 

Teaching Artists have the option to publish and share curricula on the Community-based Art and Prison Arts Collective Curriculum Archive


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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