California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

July 07, 2015Caitlin Fitzwater

Robust Arts in Corrections Program Continues in California State Prisons for a Second Year

California Arts Council announces contract awards for organizations providing rehabilitative arts services in state correctional facilities, in partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Sacramento -

 The California Arts Council has awarded contracts to ten organizations for Arts in Corrections programs in eighteen state correctional facilities.

The Arts in Corrections programs offer an array of performing, literary and visual arts disciplines, such as theater, music, dance, creative writing, poetry, storytelling, painting, and drawing.

Now in its second year, California's Arts in Corrections pilot program is made possible by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), which committed $2.5 million to add structured, contracted Arts in Corrections programs in selected state prisons over two years (fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15).

The Arts in Corrections program is administered by the California Arts Council. Both CDCR and the California Arts Council have a long history of providing arts programs in correctional facilities.

"The resurgence of California's Arts in Corrections program has resulted in remarkable success across our state," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "These exceptional arts organizations provide valuable rehabilitation and positive change for inmates through deep engagement with the arts and creative expression."

"Since the revitalization of the Arts in Corrections program, many positive changes have been reported from our institutions," said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard. "These rehabilitative arts programs are teaching inmates new skills while also providing an outlet for emotional growth and self-reflection."

One participant stated that arts engagement "allows you to break out of that shell and then express yourself in different ways that are otherwise held down and repressed."

Another shared that during arts programming, "I can smile, I can laugh, I can cry and I can show the world that the person who came in here doesn't exist no more."

Arts in Corrections Service Providers


Photos of recent California Arts in Corrections programs are available for download on Flickr at  (all photos by Peter Merts)

For CDCR press inquires contact Krissi Khokhobashvili, (916) 445-4950.

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Nashormeh Lindo, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at


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