Claire Braz-Valentine is a widely published poet and journalist. Her plays have opened in Santa Cruz and have been produced Off Broadway in New York and in many foreign countries. She has been a Poet In Schools and a Playwright in Residence at Lakeview Middle School in Watsonville. She has spent half her life running poetry workshops in California State Prisons through the William James Association. She was recently awarded the Association’s first Lifetime Achievement Award for her prison teaching.
The William James Association promotes work service in the arts, environment, education, and community development. Their work has been primarily centered around transformative arts experiences in nontraditional settings, serving men and women in and after prison and high-risk youth. Acting on the conviction that the fine arts enrich, heal and unite communities, the William James Association has brought exceptional artists into prisons throughout California and other states since 1977. The Prison Arts Project provides meaningful arts experiences for many thousands of men, women and youth in the criminal justice system. The practice of making art cultivates transformation and improves lives.
Interview by Len Beyea on December 2, 2020.