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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 who 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 most effectively. We develop our curricula with input from participants, staff, and teaching artists. Each class is flexible and based on student interest and teacher expertise, but all programs incorporate the following three elements: art history/culture, reflection, and creative practice. 

Early on, one of our teaching artists was struck by how many of the PAC class participants were already practicing artists. In response, he created a class in portfolio development 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.

Multidisciplinary Programming is supported by Arts in Corrections, 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.

Photos by Peter Merts

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