Tag Archives: San Quentin

Seeking input on building a national prison arts association

5 Jan

Dear friends of The Prison Arts Coalition:

Building upon a new level of cultural awareness regarding the benefits of arts in corrections programs, we would like to know if an expanded national organization would be a valuable asset to you and the work you do.

In these early stages, we feel the association could offer the following to its members:

  • Raise awareness of programmatic efficacy
  • Host national or regional conferences
  • Share best practices
  • Foster community
  • Support, collect and disseminate relevant research
  • Offer professional development opportunities
  • What else can you imagine?

The following 5-minute survey is designed to help better understand the need for a national prison arts association and how it can best serve potential members like you.  Your input is incredibly valuable during this early stage.

National Prison Arts Survey

We are hoping to collect all responses by January 29th.

Thank you for your time!

This survey has been developed with input by an ad hoc steering committee of prison arts advocates and practitioners, including:

Cynthia Gutierrez – Barrios Unidos Prison Project

Ella Turenne – Artist, Activist, EducatorOccidental College

Freddy Gutierrez – Community Worker, Performing Artist

Illya Kowalchuk – Pop Culture Classroom

Jonathan Blanco – Oregon State Penitentiary Hobby Shop

Laurie Brooks – William James Association

Lesley Currier – Marin Shakespeare Company

Nate Henry-Silva – Imagine Bus Project

Nathalie Costa Thill – Adirondack Center for Writing

Treacy Ziegler – An Open Window

Victoria Sammartino – Voices UnBroken

Wendy Jason – Prison Arts Coalition

Alma Robinson – California Lawyers for the Arts

Weston Dombroski – California Lawyers for the Arts

By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives

28 Sep

By Heart Cover Image

By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives — a two-person memoir written by Judith Tannenbaum and Spoon Jackson — will be out in April 2010. You can read more about the book here (and sign up to be notified when the book is available).

Words of Realness

7 Jul

Stefan Säfsten, a Swedish composer, has written two choral suites whose text
is the poems of Spoon Jackson (who is serving life without possibility of
parole in California). The church choir, Järva Röster, has performed the
songs in Europe and the United States. Cds of the work — Freedom for the
Prisoners and the recent Words of Realness — can be purchased at:
http://www.nosag.se/catalogue163.html

Spoon played Pozzo in San Quentin’s 1988 production of “Waiting for Godot,”
has published widely, and has won awards from the PEN Prison Writing
program. He is writing a two-person memoir with Judith Tannenbaum, his
poetry teacher at San Quentin; “By Heart” will be out in May, 2010.

Stefan has been a church musician in Kista parish outside of Stockholm since 1983, and was educated at the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm. He has worked with choirs spanning all age groups in the Kista parish. Stefan has conducted and led many different ensembles and choirs even before he began working in Kista. Stefan has a wide experience within most musical styles, and is as happy performing sacred music and chamber music as he is playing jazz, pop, and dance music. He has played in big bands, brass bands, and rock bands. He has also performed quite a bit of chamber music.

Stefan has also composed and arranged much music for different types of ensembles. During 2002 and 2003 he toured Germany and the Czech Republic with his choir, Järva Röster, performing the mass “Leva i världen” (Live in the World, nosag CD 057), which Stefan wrote in 1998.

Brothers in Pen: Tragedy, Struggle, and Hope (2008)

13 Feb

Stories from San Quentin

with a Foreword by Tobias Wolff

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A new anthology of fiction and creative non-fiction written in an ongoing writing workshop at San Quentin State Prison by twelve men, mostly Lifers, all serious writers, is now available. A strong theme emerging from this collection is the nature of violence and its effects on human beings, and the kind of struggle required to turn violence around. The subtitle of this anthology, “Tragedy, Struggle, and Hope,” speaks to this vision. However, the seriousness of the subject matter doesn’t mean these stories are all heavy and harsh. There is much humor, wisdom, complexity and hope to be found in these pages.

You’ll encounter struggles of temptation and forgiveness, soul-searching inquiries into the past, tragic love stories, battle bots, psychogenic amnesia, first-person accounts of Black Power history, prehistoric family drama, gang cease-fires, tommyknockers, and much more.

The class had the honor of Tobias Wolff visiting and contributing a foreword for this book. “We are storytelling animals,” he writes, and this anthology is evidence of his words.

All proceeds from the sale of this book go through the William James Association to support this creative writing class through the Arts-in-Corrections program.
For purchase information, go to http://brothersinpen.wordpress.com, or contact brothersinpen@yahoo.com

Final Cover