Prison Arts Collective currently facilitates weekly programs in 13 California state prisons. Our multidisciplinary arts classes are led by a collaborative team of teaching artists, university students and faculty, and peer facilitators that want to grow as leaders and mentors, and have participated in our Arts Facilitator Training program for incarcerated individuals. 


Programs are co-created with each site in order to serve the needs of each specific population effectively and thoroughly. We develop our curriculum with feedback from participants, staff, and teaching artists. Our curriculum is flexible and based on student interest and teacher expertise, but all class structures  include the following three elements: art history/culture, reflection, and creative practice. 

When we first started, one of our teaching artists was struck by how many of the participants were already practicing artists. Based on this observation, he created a class in portfolio development, similar to a graduate seminar, in which participants shared their work with others, received feedback, and formed a community of artists within the prison. This class has grown and remained a staple of our programming for experienced artists.

I have completed in excess of twenty self help groups, therapy programs, and counseling. However, the one thing that completely changed my life was learning art. Learning how to draw and paint is what gave me the strength and courage to stop using drugs. This was the pivotal point that allowed me to feel differently about myself and others.

—S. Hunter, Peer Leader and Peer Facilitator, CIM


Multidisciplinary Programming is supported by Transformative Arts, an initiative of the California Arts Council and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), by CDCR Innovative Programming Grants, and by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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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© 2020 Prison Arts Collective