Beyond the Blue: Prison Arts Collective - traveling exhibition


Los Angeles Valley College

Los Angeles, CA

Opening: February 12. 2019 | 6 - 8 pm

Museum of Art & History: Cedar Center for the Arts

Lancaster, CA

August 31st - November 10th, 2019

Garcia Center for the Arts

San Bernardino, CA

May 10th - June 9th, 2019

Homegirl Cafe

Los Angeles, CA

August 24th - December 15, 2018

College of the Desert, Marks Art Center

Palm Desert, California

September 21st - October 26th, 2017

CB1 Gallery

Los Angeles, California

July 22nd - September 2nd, 2017


“Beyond the Blue: Prison Arts Collective (PAC)” is an exhibition of artworks created by incarcerated participants in the Prison Arts Collective program in six California state prisons. Demonstrating the diversity of artistic styles and depth of creative expression among artists that are incarcerated, this exhibition will provide the unique opportunity for viewers to engage with works created by those participating in university-led arts programming while incarcerated.


This multidisciplinary exhibition showcases dozens of paintings, drawings, and handmade objects created by participants in the California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) Community-based Art (CBA) Prison Arts Collective project in response to five distinct, unifying themes including:


  • Alternative Materiality

  • Collaboration and Partnerships

  • Line as Language

  • Dreams, Imagination, and the Surreal

  • The Experience of Incarceration

You can view images from the exhibition sites, here. The exhibition has an accompanying panel as part of the Art and Restorative Justice panel series, please find the dates and locations of panels here


"Through the Wall: Prison Arts Collective" at CB1-G Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Spring 2015

The first public exhibition, “Through the Wall,” of the PAC was hosted by CB1-G Gallery in Los Angeles and included paintings, drawings, and handmade objects created by participants in our programs at three California state prisons. This exhibition was well attended by a wide variety of viewers including curators, gallerists, artists, students, formerly incarcerated inviduals, and the families of individuals that are currently incarcerated. We were honored to have the exhibition recommended by Carolina Miranda of the Los Angeles Times  and by Matthew Stromberg of Hyperallergic.

Reflective of the collaborative and non-hierarchical spirit of CBA programming, the exhibition includes artworks by men and women participating at all levels and working in a variety of media. This includes participants in advanced critique classes who have taught themselves to paint and draw while incarcerated and gained art historical context for their practice, as well as those participating in their first-ever art beginning painting or sculptural crafts classes with the PAC project.

All works are donated by the artists with the dual goal of sharing their work with a wider audience and raising funds to support ongoing CBA programming in prisons and in the community. Viewers are invited to participate through a written or visual reflection in a collaborative response book, an informal tour with a Teaching Artist, and by making a donation to the CBA Prison Arts Collective in exchange for art.

“Through the Wall,” the book is co-edited by Annie Buckley and Matthew McMilon and designed by Julian Rubalcaba. It includes artwork from the exhibition and writings from participants, teaching artists, faculty, and correctional staff. Published with support from Shoreline Publishing, it will be available for sale on Blurb in the coming months.100% of the proceeds of book and art sales directly benefit the CBA / PAC project.  

You can view images from the exhibition sites, here.


All of the images from the Prison Arts Collective exhibitions are included online in our archives for Through the Wall and Beyond the Blue


We post the images online by institution so that the artists’ family and friends can more easily find, view, and appreciate their work. In addition, we are committed to making this work public to share the creative voices of the incarcerated artists and help to build empathy and awareness.


We also welcome visitors to our analogue archive of the Prison Arts Collective project in VAC 221 on the CSUSB campus.



The first exhibition organized by PAC was held at the California Institution for Men, Chino, and co-organized by incarcerated participants and CSUSB graduate students Andrew Thompson and Heather Roessler through their curatorial practices classes at the prison in Chino, CIM. This exhibition was attended by all the artists in the program at CIM, our teaching team, and university guests including CSUSB President, Tomás D. Morales, and community guests, including Cheryl Bonacci, Program Director for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.