In July 2016, California State University, San Bernardino Community-based Art received a contract from the California Arts Council for a yearlong Arts–in-Corrections Demonstration Project in the amount of $249,999.
The contract will support CBA and the Prison Arts Collective, founded by Professor Annie Buckley of the Department of Art, in which students and alumni facilitate art throughout the community at sites that would not otherwise have access to it.
CBA has brought weekly arts programming to California state prisons since 2013, integrating art history, art making, and reflection into each class and workshop.
Participating inmates regularly express that they learn far more than the visual art and writing techniques included in CBA classes.
For example, a participant from the California Institution for Men stated: “I learned through expressing my opinion, learning from my instructors, and enjoying everyone’s ideas and perspectives.”
And a participant from the California Institution for Women shared: “I learned that we can all come together and learn from each other, without judgment.”
Arts-in-Corrections is a partnership of CAC and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in which CDCR provides funding to the CAC to provide structured, rehabilitative arts program in state prisons. This year, the state increased Arts-in-Corrections funding, which will enable arts programming to expand to all adult prisons in California.
This Arts-in-Corrections Demonstration Project, Prison Arts Collective, will expand on the work that CBA has been doing in three state prisons, California Institution for Men and California Institution for Women in Chino and California State Prison, Los Angeles County in Lancaster, since 2013, and will bring programming to a fourth prison in the region, California Rehabilitation Center.
The primary work of the demonstration project will be to facilitate three 10-week arts sessions, with multiple classes in visual arts and creative writing, on multiple yards, at the four prisons, serving approximately 150 participating inmates each session. These three sessions will culminate in events in the prisons and in the community that will showcase the visual art and writing of incarcerated participants. The project will also include art projects to enhance the institutions’ facilities.
CBA is based on principles of collaboration and mutual learning. The fall session of this demonstration project kicked off with collaborative planning meetings at each site, inviting input from prison administration, correctional officers, and inmate representatives, to discuss program ideas and possibilities for each facility.
In addition to the expansion of weekly programs and facility enhancements, this project includes a component of research and training to support growing the project through collaborations with local community colleges and CSU campuses, including California State University, Northridge, and Antelope Valley College.
This new agreement with CAC is the first executed contract for University Enterprises Corporation/CSUSB using the AB20 model agreement contracting mechanism for conducting business with the state of California.
For more information, please contact: Annie Buckley, associate professor, CSUSB, and founder/director of Community-based Art, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (213) 590-9798.