Fall 2017: Prison Project expands
In 2013, the California Arts Council was able to refund a seminal program, founded by the non-profit William James Association in the late 1970s, called Arts in Corrections. This program brings professional artists into prisons to teach their art form to incarcerated people in support of their rehabilitation. Dell'Arte faculty gathered in the spring of 2015 with a desire to work at Pelican Bay State Prison, California’s only Maximum Security facility located just 80 miles north of Blue Lake, in Crescent City, and subsequently applied to contract with the William James Association to provide theatre classes for the inmates there. Having secured the contract, it took another 9 months before faculty members Zuzka Sabata and Janessa Johnsrude were able to begin actually teaching at the prison. In March 2016, they established one class on the Level 1, or Minimum Security, yard. Today they offer 5 classes on all General Population yards, security Levels 1-3, on a weekly basis throughout the year.