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.