learn / 2016

Providing Access to the Arts and the Endless Possibilities They Offer

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Inner-City Arts

We use the arts to positively affect the lives of underserved L.A. children, improving their chances for success by developing creativity, improving learning skills and building self-confidence.


Please describe your project proposal.

By creating a bridge between the studio and the classroom, our unique approach to arts education measurably improves academic and personal outcomes for more than 6,000 children and teenagers each year, including those students with limited English proficiency, who are at risk of academic failure.

Inner-City Arts programs are an investment in the youth of Los Angeles, engaging them in the creative process to become creative, confident and collaborative individuals.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • College completion
  • College matriculation rates
  • District-wide graduation rates
  • Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
  • Early education
  • Student education pipeline
  • Students’ perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school
  • Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools
  • Youth unemployment and underemployment

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

Inner-City Arts will help make Los Angeles the best place to learn by engaging young people in the creative process through learner-centered, research-based arts instruction. Here, we build students’ awareness, belief and confidence in their own unique creative self-expression from which personal and academic growth develops.

Arts-infused curricula are proven to transform learning among economically disadvantaged students, particularly those with low levels of English proficiency–as illustrated in a National Endowment for the Arts report in 2012–substantiating a clear correlation between arts learning and academic achievement. Additionally, young adults of low socioeconomic status, with a history of in-depth arts involvement, experience better grades and higher rates of college enrollment and attainment.

Inner-City Arts offers: (1) direct arts instruction to economically disadvantaged students, (2) professional development for teachers and school administrators, and (3) innovative and diverse arts programming for the whole community.

1) Learning and Achieving Through the Arts (Grades K - 8) and Out-of-School Arts Workshops (Grades 6 - 12) Learning and Achieving Through the Arts (LATA), offered in partnership with LAUSD, is a unique model that brings students and their classroom teachers to our independent arts campus. LATA includes standards-aligned instruction in the arts for more than 5,000 students, extended professional development and supportive coaching for classroom teachers, and activities for schools to embrace arts strategies.

Out-of-school arts workshops include our Visual, Media and Performing Arts Institutes and Artists in the Middle summer program. Additionally, our Work of Art program advances the experience of high school students through pathways to college and careers via educational and employment opportunities and mentoring–such as work retreats, professional arts experiences at cultural institutions, and summer internships and employment.

2) Inner-City Arts Professional Development Institute (Adults) Each year, we offer nearly 1,000 classroom teachers, school administrators, teaching artists and community partners meaningful and engaging strategies for incorporating creativity in classroom curricula through the visual and performing arts. We build bridges between the arts and other disciplines to foster literacy, inquiry, critical thinking, collaborative skills and sense of community in their students.

3) Family and Community Engagement (All Ages) We further optimize student learning and engagement by involving their support network—especially parents—in the learning process; including original productions, family art days, parent workshops and culminating performances at the end of each of our sessions. Complementing our arts learning programs, our Rosenthal Theater holds innovative and diverse performances, engagements which nurture and illuminate the creative spirit of the whole community.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

In 2015, Inner-City Arts announced the results of an evaluation of one of our program areas, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Over the course of the four-years of research, we found consistent and significant gains in English language arts when compared to matched comparison school sites—a 15% average increase among English language learners, and a 10% average increase among the whole school population, as well as a 6.5% average gain in mathematics and 33% increase in creativity. We continue to refine internal evaluations that are reflective of this work.

Inner-City Arts will internally measure the success of our programs by analyzing enrollment, attendance and retention, as well as data reported by students and teachers in pre- and post-program surveys. Some anticipated outcomes include:

• Participating elementary school students will demonstrate increases in engagement in learning, language development, and creative capacity that includes artistry, curiosity, imagination, innovation and personal expression;

• Middle and high school students will experience increased acquisition of skills, engagement in learning and confidence in their ability to express themselves; and

• Educators will report knowledge of intentional practices that support creative expression within the classroom environment, increased perception of the value of the arts in learning, and using practices that encourage classroom community.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support