Community Projects

WJA is deeply committed to nurturing innovative ideas at the intersection of social justice and the arts.  In addition to the Prison Arts Project, we sponsor several projects that are compatible with our mission.

Since 1994, the Community Youth Arts Project (CYAP) has provided quality, in-depth arts experiences for high risk youth, in the belief that participation in the artistic process positively affects their view of themselves and the world around them.

Santa Cruz Jail Arts brings art classes to men and women incarcerated in Santa Cruz County jails. In response to the passage of California’s AB209 (aka Realignment), which brought low level offenders from state prisons to county jails to serve 3-5 year terms, our jail arts classes offer incarcerated people an opportunity to create art, music and poetry in a supportive space, sharing their work with a diverse group. This work is supported by grants from Arts Council Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz Office of Education and individual donations.

Unlocking hearts and minds with bold, original theatre, the Poetic Justice Project advances social justice by engaging formerly incarcerated youth and adults in art education, mentoring and the creation of original theatre that examines crime, punishment and redemption. Founded by poet and playwright Deborah Tobola in 2009, PJP is based in San Luis Obispo County.

CYAP sewing student at Natural Bridges H.S.


The William James Association Fiscal Sponsorship Program assists emerging nonprofit groups and community organizations by providing grant-related administrative support, tax-exempt status, and fiscal sponsorship.