The CSUSB students develop classes based not only around their interests, but also the interests of the inmates. For example, one intern realized that many men had already been collecting artwork in their cells, and created a portfolio and critique seminar. But the most important benefit from this exchange, observes Buckley, is the amount of growth that occurs within the students; learning not only about themselves, and what kind of teachers they are, but about people as well. Since the classes take place in the gym of the CIM, it is a collaborative endeavor between the interns and the inmates. For example, Stan Hunter, an inmate artist, often helps interns with their classes.
Buckley stressed the importance that the partnership between the Community-based Art Program and the CIM is a partnership, and that it is because of the continued interest of the men there that the classes still exist. Earlier in the year, questions about painting a mural began coming up and the finished piece was a collaboration of ideas and styles between the men at the CIM, the interns, and Buckley herself. The end result was a three panel mural of the rebirth of a forest that has been burned down. Because of photography restrictions there are no photos of the finished piece, but below is a photo of the mural in progress.
The interns (paid interns, thanks in part to the generosity of the CSUSB Career Center), Buckley, and the inmates, remind us that the importance of art, perhaps, comes from realizing that we are all creators, no matter what institution we come from.
You can read a bit more about the mural project in Buckley’s book review for Art as Therapy in the Los Angles Review of Books. https://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/access-enemy-disparity-access#