While Inner-City Arts has been a successful model for delivering transformative arts education to youth for decades, it has never been static. As the world changes in big ways, we also evolve to ensure our vision for a society that honors creativity in everyone.
From the lingering effects of a pandemic to the explosion of technology that expands how we can teach, make, and share art, the past year offered us plenty of opportunity to grow with flexibility – and meet the world’s needs creatively!
“I first fell in love with the arts through music, which continues to be a profound passion in my life. I believe whole-heartedly in the power of music and the arts to connect us, heal us, transcend, and transform out hearts and minds. Sharing that experience with the children we serve every day is why I chose this work, as it gives me hope for the future and what’s possible.
I believe Inner-City Arts is a beacon of creativity and love for children, not just in Los Angeles but also to the global community. I have had the joy of sharing in creativity with children in different parts of the world over the years, and our work with Playing for Change Foundation throughout the pandemic — creating and collaborating with children and musicians around the world, building empathy and a sense of connection to one another no matter our background — it was a beacon of light for all of us involved during a season of collective trauma, and a part of our hope at Inner-City Arts to extend our mission to include our global community.”
– Michael Sample,
“Inner-City Arts’ Work of Art program introduced me to unlimited creativity. Through performing arts, media arts, college support, and vast creative resources, I found myself moving past previous boundaries. I ultimately learned that creativity is not simply thinking of original ideas. It requires complete self-assurance in yourself and your ideas. The Work of Art program assisted with my personal and professional development. By experiencing performing and media arts, I learned that I’m interested in applying creativity in various ways. While it isn’t directly correlated, I aspire to become a software engineer and continue using my creativity with tech innovations.”
– Ishtinarah Q,
Work of Art Alumna
The sounds of footsteps, music, power tools, and laughter fill the air again at 720 Kohler Street! The greatest joy of the past year, for Inner-City Arts staff and students alike, has been the return to campus after two years of remote programming.
After such a long period apart, we have rediscovered that our campus itself is a great instigator — of new ideas, amped-up creativity, and sparks of connection with our neighbors in Los Angeles who are all part of our mission to shape a society of creative, confident, and collaborative individuals.
Through art, our youth begin to learn how to be in this world — through song, dance, poems, colors, etc. When our children are young, we incorporate more art, but through their education, it becomes optional, limited, and less integrated. Young creative and artistic minds need to strengthen these talents and acquire more learning, not less. When we can connect these artistic skills to the numerous jobs in our creative economy, then we are not only doing a service to your youth, but to our larger society.
“Inner-City Arts and LACHSA have been working together through the Creative Arts Pathways program for middle-school aged students. This partnership is a way to bridge the learning, exposure, and possibilities for youth to consider furthering their artistic potential. I value the intentionality and passion of all the team members at Inner-City Arts. Having leaders who are also artists in their own right adds to the understanding of the needs for arts education, and in particular making this more accessible to under-resourced communities. Plus, their space is beautiful!”
– Esmeralda Flores,
Equity Coordinator, Senior Program Activities Specialist, LACOE
“I’ve been here for nine years, and I’ve loved learning about this place and how everything works. Right before the pandemic, I had just been promoted from facility manager to senior facilities manager, training new people. It was tough to see people go that I’d worked with the years before. Now it feels really good to see the campus go back to action. We go out with the buses to welcome the kids every day, so I get to see them with their artwork and I look back and wish I’d had that kind of class growing up.
Working here made me appreciate art more. I really enjoy going to museums. All of the people I work with and the different arts they do — it’s really good stuff. My job here is to be a jack of all trades, making sure everyone is safe outside, painting, cleaning, making sure everything is up to my own expectations. I would like to always keep the campus perfect, looking good, always a step ahead of what everyone will need here.”
– Nick Manuguerra,
Senior Facilities Manager at Inner-City Arts
Inner-City Arts enjoys a wonderful advantage being surrounded in Los Angeles by some of the world’s most talented artists and creative professionals and organizations. We are never alone in striving toward our vision to cultivate creativity in young people! Our partners helped make 2021-22 the success it was, whether collaborating a single event or an ongoing, long-term program.
The size of the list below is a testament to the widespread and enthusiastic belief in the value of arts education for all. We extend deep gratitude to every member of these organizations for your friendship and meaningful work!
We thank each of these organizations and the teams of people who joined us in delivering exceptional arts experiences to young people this year:
A Place Called Home
American Youth Symphony
Beverly Jane Bautista
Bizung School of Music & Dance – Tamale, Ghana
Black Mountain Radio
Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Body Traffic Dance Company
Born This Way Foundation
Centro de Artes Musicales – Tijuana, Mexico
Charlie James Gallery
Community Word Project
David Kordansky Gallery
Eamon Cannon Comedy
Epic Theater Ensemble
Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Hauser and Wirth
Have Mouth Will Run It
Heidi Duckler Dance Co.
Kids Of Immigrants
LA Contemporary Dance
LA County High SChool for the Arts (LACHSA)
LA Times Image Magazine
Latino Theater Company at LATC
Lauren Nichols, Mid City West Neighborhood Council
LGBT Center of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Poverty Department
Musica Music Institute – Kathmandu, Nepal
Otis PreCollege Summer program
Para Los Niños Mental Health Services
Piece by Piece
Playing for Change Foundation
Pushkin Industries + Long Distance
Ricardo Huerta Niño – Urban Planning
Salima Magazine + Co-Conspirator Press
Skid Row Arts Alliance
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
The Mistake Room
Urban Voices Project
Versa-Style Dance Company
VT Pro Designs
Warner Music Group
“I’ve been a performer since I was a teen, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that using my artistry for social change could make a difference. I hope that moving forward, young artists begin to see themselves as revolutionaries — and use their talent to make a real impact in the world.
Inner-City Arts is a home for my theatre company, HERO Theatre. The organization has nurtured our work, given us a home amidst a crushing pandemic, and provided teaching opportunities for our artists. Our partnership is like a gift that keeps on giving. All of us at HERO are so grateful!”
– Elisa Bocanegra,
Producing Artistic Director, HERO Theatre
“For the LGBT Center of Los Angeles, our relationship with Inner-City Arts plays an important role in how we connect young people to their creative voice. With Inner-City Arts we’ve been able to have the support not only to create opportunities for our youth to learn more about themselves as artists, but also in creating a beautiful sense of community among these young artists.”
– Bernadette Ruby Lopez,
Youth Academy Supervisor, Los Angeles LGBT Center