California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

April 26, 2013Mary Beth Barber

Senator Curren Price Hosts Arts in Corrections Legislative Hearing

Arts Council Director Craig Watson joins the Joint Committee on the Arts hearing at the Grammy Museum on Friday, May 3 in Los Angeles

Sacramento -

California Arts Council Director Craig Watson will join Senator Curren Price, Chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, at an informational hearing on arts in corrections programs on Friday, May 3, 2013. The hearing will include noted actor and director Tim Robbins, California Arts Council Director Craig Watson, and other experts in this area, and take place at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

The hearing, titled Undereducate/Overincarcerate: Can the Arts Help to Turn this Around?, will examine the history of Arts in Corrections programs in California and elsewhere, and will examine whether the arts can be an effective way to help with rehabilitation efforts prior to release. Committee members will hear testimony from:

   • music, visual and performance artists;
   • facilitators who work on prison art programs;
   • corrections officials; and
   • other experts on this issue.

The hearing will also review the potential of the Arts to positively influence youth in underserved communities and in youth detention centers. Watson, as Director of the state's arts agency, will address previous programs in California, national research, and other related subjects.

The Agenda as of May 1 is as follows:

 I.     Opening Remarks and Introductions (Sen. Curren Price)

II.     Panel 1: Historic Perspective

  • Wayne Cook, Program Specialist, California Arts Council
  • Craig Watson, Director, California Arts Council
  • Laurie Brooks, Director, William James Association
  • Alma Robinson, Executive Director, California Lawyers for the Arts
  • James Carlson, Recreation Therapist/Mental Health Services, California State Prison-Sacramento

III.    Panel 2: OnLocation: Arts in Corrections Programs for Adult Inmates

  • Tim Robbins, Actor/Director, Actors Gang
  • Scott Budnick, Film Producer, InsideOUT Writers
  • Wayne Kramer, Musician, Jail Guitar Doors, USA
  • Jack Bowers, Musician/Songwriter and Chair, William James Association (and former Institutional Artist Facilitator at Soledad Prison)
  • Tom Skelly, Artist and Artist Facilitator, UCLA

IV.    Panel 3: UnderEducate/OverIncarcerate: The Impact of the Arts in Underserved Areas

  • Danielle Brazell, Executive Director, Arts for LA
  • Sharyn Church, Deputy Director, Inner-City Arts
  • Fabian Debora, Artist/Counselor/Student Mentor, Homeboy Industries 
  • Dr. Larry Brewster, Professor, University of San Francisco
  • Carol Hinds, Parent of inmate

V.     Public Comment

VI.    Closing Remarks

The Grammy Museum is located at 800 W. Olympic Boulevard, L.A., CA 90015. Members of the press and individuals interested in attending and/or testifying should contact Lauren Pizer Mains, consultant to the Joint Committee on the Arts, at (213) 745-6656 or Reporters interested in speaking with Craig Watson and others at the Arts Council may contact Mary Beth Barber at 916-322-6588,

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the Arts and Creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Wylie Aitken, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Christopher Coppola Andrew Green, Charmaine Jefferson, Terry Lenihan, William Turner, and Rosalind Wyman.

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