Apart from the visual arts in prison settings, on occasion there will be theatrical workshops led by various groups and organizations.The one that I want to share with you is from a recent workshop led by The Actors' Gang, a professional theater company based in Culver City, CA that teaches in prisons as part of their community service. Actors' Gang members shown here are Jeremie Loncka, Hannah Chodos, Cady Zuckerman, and Kathryn Carner.This particular theatrical workshop took place at High Desert State Prison this past October 2018.
The class is part of Arts in Corrections; funding for these photographs was provided by the California Arts Council.
The photos primarily feature a wonderful inmate artist and friend of mine – Mr. Rogelio Reyes. I first became acquainted with Rogelio in the beginning of 2006 when I bid on and won a drawing that he had created and submitted to NYC’s Fortune Society’s Fifth Annual Inmate Art Auction in 2005.
At that time, when I started to correspond with Rogelio to initially let him know how very much I appreciated his artwork. And we’ve been writing to one another ever since! When I finally relocated to Northern California from New Jersey in 2010, I was able for the first time to make arrangements to visit Rogelio when he was still incarcerated in SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison Crescent City, CA. Currently, Rogelio is situated at High Desert State Prison, CA and is fortunately (thank God!), no longer in SHU.
Aside from being an excellent artist, Rogelio has seemed to have found a new talent and niche for the art of clowning! He is the clown with the bright red nose and golf caddy cap. Check out the photos (all taken by professional photographer, Peter Merts) and courtesy of the California Arts Council. What joy and fun these men had! I truly wish I could have been there!
Leslie Lakes, Director
(Art Credit: Black and Red Pen Drawing by Rogelio Reyes titled Presa Drive)