Images from the Inside - 2011


The final exhibit in We Players’ 2011 Alcatraz series, is the most comprehensive gathering of inmate-produced visual artwork in the Bay Area in over 30 years. The National Park Service and We Players invited the Prison Arts Project, which sponsors on-going art classes at San Quentin through the William James Association, to exhibit outstanding examples of its work in our Alcatraz cell house gallery space. The exhibit also included work from the former California Arts-in-Corrections program – now collected by UCLA Library’s Prison Arts Archiving Project and WJA.

Images from the Inside was installed in the Cell House Gallery, Alcatraz, August 27 – November 11, 2011.

The successful collaboration of the public and the inmate population is one of the foundations of Arts-in-Corrections, which existed from 1980-2010 in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. That model was started in 1977 by the initial Prison Arts Project, which used professional artists, writers, and performers as teachers and role models of discipline, skill and commitment to growth and hard work. Participation in Arts-in-Corrections correlates to a lower recidivism rate, thus significantly reducing costs for the state and helping people to stay out of prison upon their release. A university study found that participants in the AIC program had a 27% lower recidivism rate than the general prison population. Ninety percent of inmates will return to life outside the prison walls, and arts and educational programming helps address the challenges of re-entry through public collaboration and creative growth. (click here for links to study)

The exhibition-opening event on August 27th included a panel discussion representing a significant gathering of minds in prison arts programming in the Bay Area.



Panelists included:

Larry Brewster, Professor, USF
Laurie Brooks, Executive Director, William James Association
Steve Emerick, former Arts-in-Corrections Artist/Facilitator; recipient of Dalai Lama’s Compassion Award
Patrick Maloney, San Quentin art teacher for 23 years
Katya McCulloch, San Quentin art teacher for 6 years
Carol Newborg, Exhibit Organizer for WJA, former AIC teacher
Panel was moderated by: Patrick Gillespie, We Players Gallery Curator

Another panel, moderated by Larry Brewster, and comprised of ex-inmate artists, followed a tour of the Images from the Inside exhibit during We Players’ Alcatraz Symposium on Justice & Freedom.