An inmate at California Rehabilitation Center painted a four-foot mural to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Warden Cynthia Tampkins said she was "blown away" by the quality of the work.

An inmate at California Rehabilitation Center painted a four-foot mural to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Warden Cynthia Tampkins said she was “blown away” by the quality of the work.

Inmate credits The Actors’ Gang with helping him with artistic expression

By Lt. Sarah Watson, AA/Public Information Officer
California Rehabilitation Center

NORCO – The California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) recently celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a luncheon in their gym. Located at the front stage area was a four-foot round mural painted by CRC inmate Jacob Ibarra.

Ibarra said he was excited and pleased to be given the opportunity to show his talent when he was asked to paint the Cinco de Mayo mural.

Ibarra said he has been interested in art and painting since he was a small child and has admired art from various artists. During his incarceration, he has had very little interaction with staff until he started participating in the Actors’ Gang, which has given him the opportunity to have a different outlook on life and his love for art.

“When I saw the mural I was blown away by the beauty and detail,” said Warden Tampkins. “CRC has so many gifted and talented inmates. I’m glad we are giving them the opportunity to challenge their emotions and feelings in a positive direction.”

Every year, The Actors’ Gang conducts at least three eight-week workshops inside the California prison system. They aim to unlock human potential in the interest of effective rehabilitation. The Prison Project reduces in-prison violence, increases self-esteem and tolerance, and reduces recidivism rates. The Actors’ Gang helps inmates develop emotional and social skills that aid in a positive return to society.

Ibarra said he was given a picture and asked if he could paint it on a four-foot round mural. He said the picture was very small and had little detail. He could make out a mission in the background of the picture, a battle in the front, but he had to use his imagination for most of the middle.

The mural took a few weeks to complete.

The May 27 Cinco de Mayo luncheon was enjoyed by approximately 200 employees from all departments in the institution in a relaxed and festive environment. Staff enjoyed street tacos while networking and listened to the music played by DJ Rec-8 from 99.1 KGGI, an Inland Empire radio station. They were entertained by the dancing of the Esperanza Flores Folklorico Dancers from Glendora.