In partnership with CDCR, the California Arts Council has contracts with various organizations to provide rehabilitative arts services in state correctional facilities.
Arts in Corrections includes wide array of rehabilitative arts programming led by professional artists, including the arts discplines of:
• Creative writing
• Audio journalism
• Mexican jarocho music
• Native American beadwork
• African American storytelling
• Chicano poetry
• Choral singing
The Actors' Gang
Summary of Services: The Actors' Gang, under the leadership of Artistic Director Tim Robbins, has provided theater arts programming with an emphasis on Commedia dell'Arte techniques for more than a decade. The Prison Project team provides highly physical, emotional, ensemble-based theater workshops. The work endeavors to unlock the vast human potential of the incarcerated individuals. Classes allow the participants to address and begin to heal their trauma, as well as learn to manage their emotions in a productive way.
Facilities Served: California Correctional Institution; California Institution for Men; California Institution for Women; California State Prison, Sacramento; California Rehabilitation Center; High Desert State Prison, Ironwood State Prison
Alliance for California
Summary of Services: The Alliance for California Traditional Arts provides arts programming focused on the vast and underserved field of traditional arts, rooted in cultural heritage and community-based practice. Expressions such as Native American beadwork, storytelling, songwriting, African drumming, and American folk guitar and guitarra ranchera are intended as familiar and culturally relevant art forms for participants.
Facilities Served: Avenal State Prison; California City Correctional Facility; California Correctional Institution; California Institution for Men; California Institution for Women; California Rehabilitation Center; California State Prison, Corcoran; California State Prison, Los Angeles County; Central California Women’s Facility; Correctional Training Facility; Chuckawalla Valley State Prison; Ironwood State Prison; Pleasant Valley State Prison; Salinas Valley State Prison; Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran; Valley State Prison
Summary of Services: Dance Kaiso provides residencies in Afro-Caribbean dance. Teaching artists conduct Caribbean drum/percussion and dance classes taught in a geographical, historical, and cultural context, culminating in a final presentation.
Facilities Served: Correctional Training Facility, Salinas Valley State Prison
Arts Council of Kern
Summary of Services: The Arts Council of Kern offers a variety of classes in a range of disciplines. Poetry students learn to speak more freely and present original and existing spoken word pieces, visual arts students learn the fundamental of painting and drawing, and music programs teach the skills necessary for beginner’s guitar or ukulele.
Facilities Served: Kern Valley State Prison, North Kern State Prison, Wasco State Prison
Fugitive Kind Theater
Summary of Services: Fugitive Kind Theater develops foundational skills for participants, with an emphasis on connection to the individual's voice, body and personal story as well as ensemble building, collaboration and creative problem solving. Acting exercises, techniques, and methods from a variety of performance styles will provide a comprehensive introduction to the roles and responsibilities of performers. Participants will learn how to warm up the body, achieve public solitude, remain grounded, pursue objectives, build a character, and achieve emotional truthfulness in performance. Coursework encourages exploration of personal stories and giving voice to experience through physical exploration, writing, and performance.
Facilities Served: California Institution for Men; California State Prison,
Los Angeles County
Fresno Arts Council
Summary of Services: Local arts agency Fresno Arts Council values the role the arts play in all communities, believing in the benefits of increased self-awareness and success from participating in arts programming. The Council provides visual, performing, and literary arts instruction in California state correctional institutions.
Facilities Served: Avenal State Prison; California State Prison, Corcoran; Pleasant Valley State Prison; Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran; Valley State Prison
Summary of Services: Built on the success of their San Quentin Radio project, KALW provides an audio journalism and engineering training program, with a team of radio professionals and their equipment helping inmates to build skills and share their stories about their experiences. Curriculum includes training in conceiving stories, pitching stories to editors, developing outlines and plans for putting together stories, sound recording, interviewing, transcribing, writing, rewriting, working with an editor, voicing stories, working with digital editing software, and enhancing stories with music or other sound.
Facilities Served: California State Prison, Solano; San Quentin State Prison
Summary of Services: InsideOUT uses creative writing as a catalyst for personal transformation in numerous incarceration facilities in Southern California. Professional creative writing experts will provide creative writing and literary arts programming.
Facilities Served: California City Correctional Facility, California Correctional Institution, California State Prison, Corcoran; Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran
Muckenthaler Cultural Center
Summary of Services: Serving the at-risk and underserved members of our community has become the mission of the Muck's expanding arts education outreach program. Through Arts in Corrections, Muckenthaler provides intensive, mini-residencies at correctional facilities, offering instruction in visual and performing arts.
Facilities Served: California Rehabilitation Center; California State Prison, Los Angeles County
Marin Shakespeare Company
Summary of Services: The Marin Shakespeare Company has 15 years of experience providing programs in California state prisons, inspiring inmates and shedding light on their great potential. The company’s curriculum incorporates drama therapy techniques, Shakespeare study and performance, and the creation of autobiographical theater by inmates. Classes include check-ins designed to encourage self-reflection, skill-building exercises to encourage creativity, study of Shakespeare and how the themes from the plays relate to our own lives, and small group decision-making exercises designed to allow for the practice of conflict resolution. The program culminates in a final performance of a Shakespeare play with costumes and props.
Facilities Served: California Health Care Facility, Stockton; California Medical Facility; California State Prison, Solano; Deuel Vocational Institution; Folsom State Prison; High Desert State Prison; Mule Creek State Prison; San Quentin State Prison
Prison Arts Collective at
California State University
Summary of Services: California State University of San Bernardino provides visual and interdisciplinary arts programming to those incarcerated in the California prison system, specifically through the model created in the Prison Arts Collective at the university. The project offers a vibrant and effective approach to rehabilitation through visual arts and creative writing, integrating principles of restorative justice through a rich and varied approach to the creative process that includes art appreciation, art making, and reflection.
Facilities Served: Avenal State Prison; California Institution for Men; California Institution for Women; California Rehabilitation Center; California State Prison, Los Angeles County; Calipatria State Prison
Summary of Services: PEN America instructors introduce participants to the fundamentals of storytelling, including various techniques for evoking experiences, re-telling and improvisation, group creative collaborations and examples of how stories are used in other cultures. The course utilizes music, literary excerpts, video, photographs, articles, interactive problem solving, improvisations, class discussions, and reflective activities to synthesize material. The workshop is designed for students with little or no previous writing experience who wish to engage in an exploration of their creative abilities, and provides a positive outlet for sharing the vicissitudes of their lives.
Facilities Served: California State Prison, Los Angeles County
Riverside Arts Council
Summary of Services: The Riverside Arts Council offers sessions in contemporary and Shakespearean theater, incorporating exercises involving movement, voice, storytelling, improvisation, scene study and character development. Culminating performances conclude each session. Within the framework of this program is an underlying therapeutic value. The performing of these projects leads to a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Facilities Served: California Rehabilitation Center, California Institution for Men, California Institution for Women
Red Ladder Theatre Company
Summary of Services: Formed in 1992, Red Ladder Theatre Company has a long-standing history of serving incarcerated populations, using the tools and techniques of improvisational theater to help its participants develop positive life-skills. Guided by Red Ladder Company members, participants are encouraged to examine and solve the issues and problems that affect and often derail their lives. Through the tools and techniques of improvisational theater, participants are able to safely come to terms with, and triumph over, the forces that hamper their lives while also actively developing their abilities to make positive choices, solve problems creatively, focus on tasks, work collaboratively, learn from their mistakes, and develop leadership and self-esteem.
Facilities Served: California Health Care Facility, Stockton; California State Prison, Sacramento; Central California Women’s Facility; Correctional Training Facility; Deuel Vocational Institution; Folsom State Prison; Folsom Women's Facility; Salinas Valley State Prison; Valley State Prison
We Heart Art
Summary of Services: We Heart Art Academy offers workshops for long-term and short-term participants, including mural work, dancing, portrait painting, African-American art, still life drawing, portrait charcoal, and landscape. Programming consists of more than 100 workshops serving more than 2,800 participants. We Heart Art Academy has recruited a diverse group of Art Providers that represent different genders, races, ethnicities, cultures and countries.
Facilities Served: Deuel Vocational Institution
Summary of Services: TheatreWorkers Project teaching artists provide an introduction to the fundamentals of physical theater, improvisation and writing techniques that will lead to a performance piece or staged reading created and performed by the participants. Participants work together as a whole group ensemble and in small groups structured to provide safe and supportive environments for creative risk taking. TheatreWorkers Project's belief that “every human being has a story to tell” serves as the jumping off point for this program.
Facilities Served: California State Prison, Los Angeles County
William James Association
Summary of Services: The William James Association has a 40-year history of developing, managing and funding multi-disciplinary fine arts programs for incarcerated and at-risk individuals, working with organizations from National Endowment for the Arts to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office to provide fine arts services in correctional settings. WJA provides a wide array of programming spanning the fields of visual, literary and performing arts.
Facilities Served: California Correctional Center; California Institution for Men; California Institution for Women; California Medical Facility; California Men’s Colony; California Rehabilitation Center; California State Prison, Los Angeles County; California State Prison, Sacramento; California State Prison, Solano; Centinela State Prison; High Desert State Prison; Mule Creek State Prison; Pelican Bay State Prison; Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility; Salinas Valley State Prison; San Quentin State Prison; Sierra Conservation Center