For over 41 years, the William James Association has acted on the conviction that the fine arts enrich, heal, and bring communities together.

“Our work has always and continues to play a role in bringing forth voices of people who have or are experiencing incarceration and that’s the really important outcome of our work but all along the way there is the magic of art.”

Laurie Brooks

Executive Director

Prison Arts Project

The major program of the William James Association is the Prison Arts Project (PAP), created through the vision and efforts of Eloise Smith. A pilot project was set up in 1977 at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville.

Community Youth Arts Project

The Community Youth Arts Project (CYAP) was created to provide quality, in-depth arts experiences for at-risk youth, in the belief that participation in the artistic process positively affects their view of themselves and the world around them.


Vern McKee – A Prisoner’s Rules for Accountable Arts Engagement: He said that our honeymoon was over and that given the rising tensions in the system, there were a lot of lives at stake with little room for error.