The longest-running success story at Inner-City Arts is our weekday programming for K-8 students from Los Angeles Unified School District and local charter schools. In the past year, LATA transformed from entirely remote instruction to sending our teaching artists out to school sites. By summertime, we were thrilled to start preparing for school buses to return children to our DTLA campus studios in the fall.
Through each new circumstance the year presented, our professional teaching artists used research-based instruction in visual, performing, and media arts as always, boosting kids’ critical thinking, literacy, and social-emotional skills for the 21st-century. Among each marvelous moment, nothing compared to the students’ delighted faces when they made a new discovery through their own creativity!
The after-school hours at Inner-City Arts are full of classes in nearly any art form students dream to explore. Our self-select Institutes offerings took place over Zoom during 2021-22, and even so, they all burst with creativity as the students made connections with each other and their own artistic voice.
The thrill of in-person, studio-based learning became possible again for a part of the spring and in time for our Summer Institutes classes to begin on campus in June. A two-week session for K-5, followed by a two-week session for students in grades 6-12 offered much for Inner-City Arts to celebrate. Our studios filled with music, dance, digital/media arts, ceramics, 3-D works from the Creativity Lab, and lots of laughter and new friendships.
It has been an incredible year for our college and career exploration program. Social distancing did not slow our student interns’ creativity in completing three major social enterprise projects, their next web series episode, multiple performances in our Rosenthal Theater, and the launching of our Work of Art Permanent Collection.
The opportunities for these high schoolers to engage with the creative economy of Los Angeles included teaming up with Ball Corporation to promote sustainability through original artwork at So-Fi Stadium during the L.A. Chargers 2021 season and creating a digital art display shown at So-Fi during the draft. These young artists also created a mural to beautify L.A.’s tiniest park, in the Fairfax District.
The talented performers of the WOA cadre starred in “Dragons Love Tacos” for more than 600 audience guests, joined our Big Orange Door presentation of “Zebra Chicken Variety Hour,” and acted, danced, and sang in their own original content for their web series “Rated Z for Everyone.” Just wait until you see what WOA does in the coming year!
Inner-City Arts ushered in the joyful return of live performances this past year after our theater had been dark for the extended pandemic period. Welcoming young audiences and their families to The Rosenthal is an essential expression of our vision of a society that honors creativity in all people, from any background.
From guest performances by the Versa-Style Dance Company and HERO Theatre to the “Zebra Chicken Variety Hour” and “Dragons Love Tacos,” starring our Work of Art youth, The Rosenthal Theater’s programs delighted audiences and opened our students’ eyes to many styles of artistic performance. The stage lights and audience seats are warmed up for an even more robust program year ahead!
“Most of my students have never been exposed to art media because of the communities that they live in. I feel it is important that they get the exposure to art and creativity. Thank you for offering art media to our students here at Middleton Street Elementary. The children learned, were engaged, and looked forward to art class!”
Middleton Street Elementary teacher
“This was the best art program I have ever had my students participate in! We appreciated the excellent lessons, materials, and art projects! My students were positively impacted with creativity, social emotional learning, art skills, engagement, and more! I appreciate your classroom management and organized lessons. The students were engaged and learned a lot about visual arts! Thank you!!!”
Mountain Avenue School teacher
“Teaching and art have been interwoven into the core of who I am since childhood. I loved to play teacher with my little sister and her friends from an early age. Art education has been a great way of combining these two passions of mine. In high school, I enrolled in a sculpture course led by Mexican artist Francisco De Leon. Learning to work with clay and playing with forms inspired me to enroll in art school. While still in college, I was invited by a family friend to teach some children’s workshops at her school. There, I soon became the “clay teacher,” the name my little artists called me. Throughout my life’s journey, creativity has positively influenced every aspect of my life. For example, it has helped me feel more confident in my ability to develop different solutions to a problem and think critically. It has made me more self-aware and conscious of who I am as an individual, providing me the ability to see and appreciate others with empathy. It has provided a perspective of the world around me and a unique way of expressing myself through my artwork. That is why I believe Inner-City Arts has the ability to positively influence, transform, and make a profound impact in all of our students’ lives.”
– Eva Perez,
Lead Teaching Artist, Visual Arts
Inner-City Arts has truly evolved thanks to new creative approaches we developed in response to pandemic restrictions. Along with the joyful return to our robust campus offerings at Kohler Street, we continue to have teaching artists who provide in-school residencies throughout Los Angeles. Our flexibility helps ensure more young people can access art experience.
In addition, making use of our now well-tested remote teaching skills, we were able to offer instruction to students on both coasts this year! “Writing for Film” took place online and welcomed 31 New York high schoolers to engage with our local L.A. students.