Art program getting attention for California Institution for Men

Inmates at the California Institution for Men in Chino paint a mural as an art in prisons project. The art program has been featured in numerous regional publications and websites. Photo courtesy California State University, San Bernardino, Community-based Art Program and photographer Andrew K. Thompson.

Inmates at the California Institution for Men in Chino paint a mural as an art-in-prisons project. The art program has been featured in numerous regional publications and websites. Photo courtesy California State University, San Bernardino, Community-based Art Program and photographer Andrew K. Thompson.

By Don Chaddock, InsideCDCR editor

The art in prison project at the California Institution for Men (CIM) is getting some ink in the regional media.

The project has recently been featured in Art Voices Magazine, Arts Connection Network and LA Review of Books.

A mural presented a collaborative effort between inmates at CIM and the California State University, San Bernardino, Community-based Art Program. Recently, photographer Andrew K. Thompson documented some of the work which went into producing the mural.

His photographs, along with the mural, were on display in October at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art at California State University, San Bernardino.

Professor Annie Buckley, with the university’s art program, facilitates the program, which began at CIM in 2013.

“The mural is the creation of a group of five students from the CSUSB Department of Art, where I am on the faculty and facilitate this program, and approximately 50 inmates, some with many years of art experience and others who have just picked up a paintbrush for the first time,” Buckley wrote in Art Voices Magazine.

“The collaborative mural, as well the photographs documenting it, are the result of a series of connections and a gradual building up of trust between institutions and individuals and between teachers, students, and artists, both on campus and in the prison,” she wrote. “It is part of a program that began as a pilot in March 2013 with eight CSUSB art students facilitating four classes in teams of two at the prison.”

Since then, student-led teams have taught classes including painting, printmaking, and a critique and art history seminar each quarter, and also includes creative writing, according to Buckley.

“The mural discussion was part of an ongoing community-based art program I initiated through blending the curriculum of a series of courses I teach at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), with and the needs and interests of our partners in the community, including the prison,” she wrote.

Buckley pointed out the lack of art instruction in many urban public schools, but schools in wealthy neighborhoods offered thriving art programs.

The university’s art department has added morning and evening art classes in another yard at the prison. In November, university administrators are scheduled to visit CIM to see first-hand how the students interact with the inmates, according to CIM Community Resources Manager Howard Gaines.

Learn how art is helping rehabilitate inmates in other prisons

Inmates draw from creative palette at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2014/10/inmates-draw-from-creative-palette-at-richard-j-donovan-correctional-facility/

Sierra Conservation Center inmates learn to express themselves through art, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2014/09/sierra-conservation-center-inmates-learn-to-express-themselves-through-art/

Editor’s Note: Non-CDCR websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.

See more on Art Voices Magazine at https://artvoicesmagazine.com/2014/09/team-life/#sthash.q86WouVy.dpuf

You can read a bit more about the mural project in Buckley’s book review for Art as Therapy in the Los Angeles Review of Books, https://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/access-enemy-disparity-access#

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