I first came to learn about Nicola White in an article published in the November 2016 issue of the San Quentin News.  Since I didn’t have Nicola’s direct contact info, I initially approached the Greenwich Gallery (UK) mentioned in the article and requested they forward my message to her. Nicola (who gave up her job as a banker to start mudlarking adventures) responded and thus we began to forge a friendship based on mutual interests as professional artists who were passionate about helping to give voice and validation to imprisoned artists.  What makes Nicola’s mission and work so unique is her focus on  death row inmate artists  at San Quentin Prison.  Death row no longer exists in the England prison system (abolished in 1965).

This past mid-March, Nicola made a trip over to Mill Valley, CA and we finally had a chance to hook up in person.  Please enjoy a recent BBC video about Nicola and the talented San Quentin death row artists she represents.

On another note, I absolutely concur with death row inmate artist – Bill Clark - how art provides three powerful benefits: PURPOSE, ACCOMPLISHMENT and PRIDE.   And, I can’t agree more with Nicola’s belief that art transforms and changes lives.  As seen in P.A.TH.’s artist - Oscar Barrascout’s pen drawing titled “Awareness and Change” that was on exhibit at the May-June 2017 Alcatraz exhibit.

“I could only imagine how it must have been to be housed at Alcatraz. In the drawing it is my hand holding the image that I can imagine seeing from the window on the weekends; watching the ferries as they bring the visitors to the island (Alcatraz) to see their loved ones - hoping and waiting that someone may have come to see me.

Note: Where the letter “T” (finger) is touching the heart, I used the color red to represent the changing of the heart: “Awareness and Change”. - Oscar Barrascout


Leslie Lakes, Director

Pics legend:

Nicola White (L) and Leslie Lakes (R) at Illumigarden sculpture garden in Mill Valley (March 2017) 

"Awareness and Change" pen drawing by Oscar Barrascout