Arts in Corrections

“Whip-Poor-Will” illustration by Anna Friedland:
Arts in Corrections Poetry Chapbook Series 1

Arts in Corrections (AIC) is a program for system engaged individuals at the Mariposa County Adult Detention Facility and a partnership program with the Mariposa County Sheriff Office that offers poetry workshops to every inmate in the facility on an ongoing basis.

The program is designed to develop the artistic abilities of incarcerated individuals through sequential, hands-on learning; promote life skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and positive self-expression; and develop long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between arts organizations, teaching artists, and the incarcerated population in Mariposa. Most importantly, it utilizes the arts as an equalizer that can create a level playing field where underrepresented voices can be heard, amplified and engaged.


AIC introduces participants to the field of poetry and the knowledge of poetic devices through a variety of exercises, exposure (reading aloud/listening), and facilitated discussion of  published poems; offers a supportive and instructional environment for the creation and workshopping of original poetry created by participants; and produces quarterly poetry readings providing participants an opportunity to share their finished pieces with their community. This program is taught by local poet and author, Laura Phillips. Each year a chapbook of selected poems is illustrated by a local artist and published to support the program.

In May, 2021, Arts in Corrections received special programming from nationally renowned poets, Suzanne Buffam and Anna Maria Hong, facilitated by author and poet, Megan Levad. The virtual poetry reading was designed to highlight the Arts Council’s ongoing poetry initiatives and allowed AIC participants to engage in conversation with (and read their work to) established and authored poets. The event was attended by local students and educators, Arts Council Members, and featured a special reading from Mariposa County Poetry Out Loud Finalist, Sydney Jacobs.

Chapbooks Volume 1 and 2 are available for sale at Sticks Coffee (4993 7th St, Mariposa, CA 95338) in downtown Mariposa for $6.00 for one chapbook, and $10.00 for two chapbooks. Or, contact us to arrange direct shipping. All proceeds benefit the program for the 2021 season.

Special thanks: Laura Phillips (program teaching artist), Anna Friedland and Daisy Phillips (chapbook illustrators) and Lt. Sean Land, Justin Reeder and Corrections Staff.

Partners: Mariposa County Sheriff Office, California Lawyers for the Arts

Funders: California Arts Council’s Artist in Communities Grant Program,
Mariposa County Probation Department Local Innovation Grant Program
Community Sponsors: Carol Johnson, Blue Oak Basecamp for Real Living