SERVICE LEARNING is an approach to learning and teaching in which students learn by and through providing a needed service. Mutuality is a vital component of Service Learning.
In the Prison Arts Collective, we collaborate with the Departments of Art at CSU San Bernardino and CSU Fresno to engage university students and recent alumni in service learning and internships. These service learning opportunities are mutually beneficial to students, who gain significant experience in the field, and participants, who have the chance to learn from university students and alumni.
Students have participated in these opportunities from many Departments and disciplines, including Art, Design, English, Criminal Justice, and Psychology. We currently have chapters of the PAC at CSUSB and CSU Fresno. Students from any CSU campus and other colleges and universities are welcome to apply for internships and service learning opportunities.
The Community Based Art Program is so much more than what it appears. This Program not only helps those who need rehabilitation and guidance but also helps the teaching staff in unimaginable ways. Teaching at a Prison or at a Rehabilitation site may seem scary or hard, however these participants are the most eager students you will ever teach. Along with teaching, they teach you about yourself and how you may teach. You will develop a voice you maybe didn't know you had and a love for teaching that is aided by their thirst for your knowledge and experience. To join our teaching team is to join a community of people who are very much devoted to helping our communities. The love and fellowship that combed from this program is only matched by the love of what we do. Please join our teaching staff and start the learning experience of a lifetime.
—Rebecca Chrisler, CSUSB, Studio Art, 2017, former intern and teaching artist, LAC
As a teaching artist at the California Institute for Women, I get the amazing opportunity to assist and learn from participants through art curricula involving personal reflection and creativity. I started off in the program assisting guest artists,and then continued to work with a partner in creating a class involving storytelling through art using different craft-based media. I think one of the most valuable characteristics of art is its ambiguity and that there is more than one way of interpreting it. When participants are creating a piece, they find a way to add their own unique touch, even if they all have the same subject. Similarly, when I am painting or drawing, I like to think about how others would interpret my work; it’s a euphoric feeling to be able to express whatever I am feeling or thinking about onto a blank canvas and see if the result varied from my original idea.
—Catherine French, CSUSB, Visual Studies, 2016, former service learning student, intern, and then staff teaching artist