AK DOC Today

News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections

Polar Bears, Sunsets and Self-Worth


Spring Creek Correctional Center extends a warm thank you to Charlen Satrom who shared her time, energy and enthusiasm with inmates participating in water color classes funded by the Kenai Peninsula & Borough School District. Nationally recognized for her work in oils, watercolors, pastels and other media, Ms. Satrom led two groups of inmates through Alaska-themed paintings from start to finish over five days.

The transformation was amazing – from blank page to sailboats at sunset and polar bears appearing at dusk. Equally amazing was the transformation apparent in inmates as Ms. Satrom gently guided them from sketching subject matter to bringing it to life one brush stroke at a time. Participants’ pride in their work was obvious and undeniable, especially upon completion of class as paintings were displayed and viewed as a whole.


Ms. Satrom trained in art and education at Seattle Pacific University. Among her many works is a portrait of Rep. Don Young which hangs in a Washington, D.C. legislative building. Ms. Satrom also runs Brush with Adventure: Charlen Style, a non-profit organization providing artistic opportunities to underprivileged, underrepresented, and incarcerated populations. Classes like those held at Spring Creek Correctional Center teach participants to see the beauty around them, to express themselves in a positive way and to build both self confidence and self worth through individual achievement. Participants also learn to accept constructive criticism, a skill essential for success at Spring Creek and beyond.

– report from SCCC Education Coordinator Nonna Shtipelman