about acting up
During 2017 Nevada County Arts Council rolled out a pilot series of workshops called Acting Up at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, our County Jail. Over the course of three months, we commissioned experienced actor, director and playwright, John Deaderick, to teach theatre and acting to close to twenty inmates, varying in age from early twenties to early seventies, and serving time for a variety of offenses. The series was the result of an unusual partnership with California Lawyers for the Arts.
what participants say
When asked about the changes inmate participants now planned to make in their lives, here was some feedback jail staff and Nevada County Arts Council received:
“My interactions have become deeper. I feel I understand each person more… I feel happier, and have become more outgoing and cheerful...”
“The space helped me to explore myself better. I feel I’m more relaxed and friendly and therefore able to make better decisions…”
how did acting up begin?
Acting Up follows a report produced in late 2016 by California Lawyers for the Arts, in collaboration with Dr. Larry Brewster of the University of San Francisco, the William James Association, Fresno Arts Council, Community Works West and Jail Guitar Doors. The report, Arts in Corrections: County Jails Project, was released “just as the US Supreme Court was requiring the state to reduce severe overcrowding in the state’s prisons. In addition to having the nation’s largest state prison population, California also claimed one of the highest recidivism rates in the country at nearly 70%.”
why arts in corrections?
Broad, evidence-based research shows inmates engaged in arts programs are less likely to be involved in disciplinary incidents and to re-offend after release. Jeff Pettit, Nevada County Sheriff Captain, and Robert Bringolf, Executive Lieutenant in Corrections at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility speak highly of the program.
We’d like to do more work with disadvantaged youth caught up in the juvenile justice system at Juvenile Hall, and we’d also like to work with female inmates at our County Jail. We are hoping that with the fantastic staff at each of our county institutions, we’ll be breaking ground in these areas soon. Watch this space!