Our Programs

Open Hearts Open Minds continues to broaden its scope, providing services and life-skills training to prison inmates, as well as expanding awareness and understanding for those on the outside of prison systems both in Oregon and abroad.

This is the few hours every week where I am a human being not just an inmate.


Open Hearts Open Minds began offering a weekly Arts in Prison program in December of 2013 at at Columbia River Correctional Institution, a minimum security prison which is located near the Portland Airport. The foundation is a Dialogue Group, similar to the one we have at Two Rivers prison, but it is enlivened by lots of music, poetry, prose and visual art. All of the men at this prison will be returning to society soon--some of them have spent many years in prison. We discuss how to prepare for this challenging transition by talking about fatherhood, addiction, identity and just about everything under the sun. We have many guests at this program, including musicans, writers and storytellers. Arts in Prison meets on Thursday afternoons. If you would like to visit, contact Johnny at stallingsjohnny@gmail.com.


Our CRCI Music Program meets twice-a-week. It grew out of our Arts in Prison program. It is facilitated by Patrick Seraya and Mark Mojdehi. Beginning, intermediate and advanced students get an opportunity to learn, hone their skills and play together. We especially encourage the men to write and perform original songs. We have donated a piano, as well as lots of guitars and musical equipment. We organize two talent shows every year, which are open to the public.



Coffee Creek Correctional Facility is a women's prison and prisoner intake center in Wilsonville, Oregon.  Operated by the Oregon Department of Corrections, the 1,684 bed facility opened in 2001 at a 108-acre campus.

Carla Grant and Don Kern began Theatre at Coffee Creek in October 2014.  Once (often twice) a week, a group of about 20 women meet for 3 hours to cultivate ensemble and create theatrical productions.  We produce two shows a year:  a devised piece in the Spring and a scripted piece in the Fall.  We are also dedicated to bringing in a variety of artist's voices from the outside to perform for the residents and teach workshops in our class.  We love visitors!  To come to prison with us, contact carla@openheartsopenminds.net.

Ongoing practicum on the outside for theater practitioners and the curious led by Carlton Grew.  $10 requested donation.  Free to our graduates.  Wednesdays at 7:30pm.  Soma Space.  Contact Carlton for more information:  riffline@yahoo.com.

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Dialogue Group

Johnny Stallings began a weekly Dialogue Group at Two Rivers Correctional Institution in July of 2006. It is ongoing. Topics for discussion include things like Love and Freedom and Happiness. The conversations last three hours, with about 12 to 18 participants. After about two years, a member of the group asked Johnny if he would be interested in doing a play with them. In 2008, Johnny directed Hamlet there. Nancy Scharbach did the costumes and props. It was the first time that inmates in an Oregon prison had performed a play by Shakespeare. Two years later, in 2010, Johnny and Nancy collaborated to produce "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at TRCI. Bushra Azzouz brought in a film crew eight times. She is currently working to finish a feature-length documentary film titled "A Midsummer Night's Dream in Prison."

Two Rivers prison is a three hour drive from Portland. After "Winter's Tale," in 2015, Johnny decided that he would only be able to go out to the prison once a month, rather than once a week. At this point, Open Hearts Open Minds suddenly grew. A team of people, including Johnny and Nancy, began facilitating the Dialogue Group on a weekly basis. Currently, in 2018, the team includes: Jude Russell, Deborah Buchanan, Bill Faricy, Dick Willis, Kristen Sagan and Bushra Azzouz.

Two Rivers Theatre

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" was followed by Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" in 2011. In 2012 we did a non-Shakespeare play: "Twelve Angry Men" by Reginald Rose. Then back to Shakespeare with "King Lear" and "A Winter's Tale," in 2013 and 2014.

In 2015 Johnny Stallings co-directed Hamlet at Two Rivers with Anna Crandall, Victoria Spencer, Patrick Walsh and Todd Oleson. Since 2016, there are two separate groups--the Dialogue Group and the Two Rivers Theatre group. In 2016, Anna, Victoria and Patrick directed "Metamorphoses" by Mary Zimmerman. In 2017 the same team directed Shakespeare's "The Tempest." In late 2017, Todd Oleson directed "A Christmas Carol."

For 2018 we have a brand new team of directors: Diane Kondrat, Rich Wattenberg, Jake Merriman, Sarah McGregor and Michelle Milne. Public performances of this year's play will be on Saturdays: September 22 and 29. If you would like to attend the play contact Johnny at stallingsjohnny@gmail.com.

A Midsummer Night's Dream in Prison

Bushra Azzouz filmed our production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 2010. She brought a film crew to the prison eight times and filmed rehearsals, performances, group dialogues and individual interviews. She is currently working to finish editing the film. If you would like to help with fundraising for the film, contact Johnny Stallings at stallingsjohnny@gmail.com

Open Hearts Open Minds is partnering with Home for Good in Oregon to help participants in our prison program to make successful transitions back into society. Training is required in order to become certified as a Home for Good volunteer.

As an HGO volunteer, OHOM is able to maintain a relationship with our program participants and assist them in the re-entry process.

Bushra Azzouz began filming A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Prison on Saturday, June 19, 2010, at Two Rivers Correctional Institution, near Umatilla, Oregon. She had permission to film inside the prison eight times. The last film date was October 9th. The film crew included, at different times: Bushra Azzouz, Richard Blakeslee, Patrick Williams, Trevor Fife, Jon Beanlands, Aysha Ghazoul, Tom Chamberlain, Brian Yazzi, Jeffrey Richardson, Michael Poulin-Roberson, Mario Garza and Vasiliki Katrivanou.

Bushra and the crew filmed rehearsals and performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, group dialogues and individual interviews with the actors.

The logging and transcription process has been completed, many hours of footage have been reviewed, categorized and organized. There is a first draft of the script and the editing process is quite far along. We are gearing up for our next round of fundraising. If you want to get involved in this project, call Johnny at: 503-347-6869. There’s lots to do. We especially need help with fundraising, including possibly hosting a fundraising houseparty. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream in Prison: Film Sampler