Photo: Shoe Tree HWY 395 to High Desert State Prison. September 2015
This living tree captures the anticipation heading to prison for the first time. Everyone leaves behind some essential story. Pairs of shoes show the completeness.
On the length of road with long horizons, a palpable going to the end of the earth. Far from everything. Remote. Isolated.
Since a beginning classes at High Desert 2015-2016 I have adapted a similar curriculum to engage this specialized group of arts learners.
As a Visual Artist for the Muckenthaler Arts in Corrections Program, I lead Programs in Visual Art for Inmates of State Prisons in Southern California. The Hotel California, CRC Norco; Ironwood SP and Chuckawalla; both near Blythe, CA. A one year stint at Los Angeles County Prison, Lancaster, a Security Level 4, challenged the limits of understanding how to work within the system.
I continue to believe that Arts in Corrections experiences, better redefine relationships with prison social structures. It prepares Inmates and Custody since a new side of people emerges in relation to art. Not only the benefit of engaging minds of inmates, prison programs contribute to more cooperative community. Lockdowns return after classes end. I hear from inmates that being in an art class is like not being in the prison.