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Prison Art Collective’s  curriculum is co-created by enthusiastic teaching artists, faculty mentors, and staff, and is available in an open source platform online through Scholarworks with a full archive in development with the SDSU Library. PAC curriculum is based on a learner-centered philosophy that actively engages participants in inquiry, discussion, creative and critical thinking, reflection, interpretation, and making. Our teaching teams and participants actively co-create a safe space for creativity and expression within the institutions.


All PAC classes include the cultivation of a safe space for creativity, art making or creative practice, reflection or interpretation, and art history or cultural content. PAC classes feature diversity and include artists across time, place, gender, ethnicity, age, culture, sexual orientation, as well as a diversity of media, styles, and approaches to art in lesson plans. Participant artistic and cultural knowledge is valued throughout and fostered through opportunities for shared learning and co-teaching as relevant.

Select courses from our curriculum include:

Art Facilitator Training

This unique course is designed to empower people that are incarcerated to become mentors and teachers. The 60-hour program is followed by a 3-month apprenticeship. Upon completion, students become teachers and cultivate creative community in the prison through teaching weekly classes. This program began in 2015 at Ironwood State Prison and has since expanded to multiple institutions where PAC has programs. Currently PAC has 50 peer facilitators that have graduated and are teaching classes in 8 prisons.

Examples of other courses:

Foundations in Art

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


Art Appreciation

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


Introduction to Drawing

Participants learn the fundamentals of drawing to complete works of art. They are introduced and taught 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 are taught  to see art through the perspectives of others and to improve their communication skills.


Portfolio Development

Participants learn to incorporate their work into career planning by creating a portfolio and learning basic professionalism. They also learn to organize their work to best showcase it  while also  catering  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 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 also engage in a guided reflection to gain better understanding of themselves and the artwork.


Creative Writing Workshop

Participants learn to write in various styles ranging from traditional reviews to poetic responses. They read, analyze,  and reflect on a variety of written works, while  developing a familiarity with the formalities of writing. The class is  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 make original artworks inspired by these cultures and reflect on them.


Introduction to Music

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


PAC is developing an open source archive for curricula. In the meantime, please contact us for more information. 

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