Arts & Youth Justice

The Arts & Youth Justice program was established in 2006 at Providence School, the County’s year-round court school managed by the Probation Department. Providence school provides educational services to minors incarcerated in the Detention and Commitment Housing Areas within the Ventura County Juvenile Justice Facility. VCAC employs teaching artists in visual, literary and performing arts.

In 2011, the county’s representative to the State Poetry Out Loud competition was a Providence student. In 2015, VCAC released The Art Inside, Vol. 1, a chap book of 55 original poems and 11 full color drawings by Providence students, published by the Ventura County Office of Education. Volume 2 followed in 2016. Another chap book, R Poets, with poems by students in Recovery class at Gateway school was also published in 2016.

The program is supported by Ventura County Probation Agency, a JUMP StArts grant from the California Arts Council, in-kind funds from Ventura County Office of Education, and additional contributions from business & private donors.

There is an open call to artists to participate in this program. VCAC identifies local artists with unique skill sets that enable them to work in alternative school settings. Each teacher must have a special clearance from the Probation Dept. and other authorities. Classes combine arts components with an emphasis on life skills such as tolerance, cooperation, cultural authenticity, self-esteem, self-expression, and mutual respect.

Teen CentricRadio Show

Our radio show, TEEN CENTRIC, features interviews with teens discussing their lives and sharing their poetry. Some were in juvenile hall at the time of their interview. They all write poems. The show is produced by the Ventura County Arts Council as part of our Arts & Youth Justice program in partnership with CAPS Radio in Ventura and the Ventura County Probation Agency. It is supported in part with funds from the California Arts Council’s JUMP StArts grant.

In this episode, "Reflections," our guest joins Craig in the studio to discuss her journey here, her indigenous roots, her community activism and her studies at UC Berkeley.
In this episode, "Raised by a Skin Head," a young man in juvenile hall opens up on drug addiction, overcoming a racist upbringing and accepts responsibility for the part he plays in his situation.

TEEN CENTRIC airs on CAPS Radio in Ventura, KPPQ-LP FM, 104.1, Mondays at 11:00 a.m., Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. and Fridays at 9:00 a.m. Some episodes are broadcast nationally, featured on Pacifica Radio's affiliate network, SPROUTS.

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