Teaching Opportunities


We are looking for professional, inspiring, and well-rounded Teaching Artists to instruct weekly classes at various sites throughout California. Artists best suited for a residency with the Prison Arts Project are ones with solid artistic and technical skills along with a unique personal vision demonstrated through original work and presentation.

Current teaching opportunities:

Visual Arts Teacher, High Desert State Prison, Susanville, CA.

Visual Arts & Mural making Teacher, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA.


The William James Association began in 1973 to promote work service in the arts, environment, education, and community development. Since 1977, the William James Association’s Prison Arts Project has brought exceptional artists into prisons throughout California. Acting on the conviction that the fine arts enrich, heal and bring communities together, we seek to provide the most meaningful arts experiences possible. It is based on over four decades of engagement with thousands of men, women and youths in the justice system that we know art fosters hope & changes lives.

Under Arts in Corrections, a program of the California Arts Council with funding from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, WJA currently contracts with over 80 artists to offer programs in 14 California Prisons. 

The Prison Arts Project focuses on hands-on workshops in the visual, literary, and performing arts taught inside CA State Correctional Facilities. We are seeking versatile, resourceful, reliable, and resilient artists who can work well in the unusual setting of a prison. Experience in teaching is desirable, preferably with adults. Previous work with prison populations is not required, but would be helpful. We provide paid training and support for teaching and navigating in prison.

In addition to the above, arts education and teaching experience are desirable and can be demonstrated through a history of consistent professional accomplishments and artistic standards as follows:

  • Visual Arts – Minimum 2 exhibitions per year over the last 3 years with reviews.
  • Literary – Regular publishing for the last 3 years with reviews.
  • Performing – Regular public performances for the last 3 years with reviews.

We consider a diverse set of educational experiences and job history to measure an applicants potential to be successful in this position. 

COMPENSATION: Competitive pay rate. 


  • Complete the Artist Application form found on this page. 
  • Once your application is received with all requested materials (resume, website, work samples, class description, etc.) you’ll be notified via email of receipt of application.
  • Once applications have been reviewed by a panel of professional artists in this field, you’ll be notified via email on the status of your application. If there are available positions and your skills and values are in alignment with the program needs you will be notified and an interview will be scheduled with program staff. 



WJA is committed to providing equitable and inclusive access to meaningful arts engagement by dismantling barriers, systematically and strategically.  We are committed to fully engaging underrepresented populations in all aspects of our operation that will help us to be more inclusive of all marginalized people regardless of race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion.

Thank you for your interest in the Prison Arts Project. If you have any questions, please contact Joey Reyes, Prison Arts Program Manager, William James Association at Joey@williamjamesassociation.org.