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Inner-City Arts

Rating: 5 stars   1 review 639

Nonprofit Issues:

Arts & Culture


720 Kohler St Los Angeles CA 90021 USA


Use art education to positively affect the lives of inner-city children, improving their chances to lead constructive and successful lives by developing creativity, improving learning skills and building self-confidence.


Through prudent financial management, an active Board of Directors and an excellent staff, Inner-City Arts is reaching more children and youth to meet an increased demand for services. Our goal is to fully utilize our newly expanded campus, which means increasing the number of students and teachers served annually from 10,000 to 16,000. Inner-City Arts actively seeks support from foundations, corporations, individual donors and public agencies. Currently only 6% of our revenue comes from city, county, state or federal government sources. Fundraising events and activities throughout the year have yielded significant support for our programs.

Target demographics:

Over 90% of the children and youth enrolled at Inner-City Arts are living in families whose household incomes fall below the federal poverty line. A significant number are classified homeless (at one elementary school served by Inner-City Arts nearly 80% of the students are homeless). The population served is predominantly Hispanic (80%), with the balance being mostly African-American and Asian. Partner schools for instructional-day art classes are located within a 3.5 mile radius of Inner-City Arts’ Skid Row campus. Students are bused from their classrooms to Inner-City Arts for classes. Schools served are all Title I schools with high-poverty populations, heavy concentrations of English language learners with the majority performing “below” or “well below” national standards in reading and language, and high potential for the children and their schools to substantially benefit from the program. Within these schools, 60% or more of enrolled students are designated English language learners. These students struggle to achieve. They lack sufficient English language skill to succeed in English-only classrooms and risk entering upper-level grades unable to compete in mainstream classes. Our art instruction presents these students with an alternative method of learning that may represent for them the critical key to successful English language acquisition. Middle and high school students come from a wider geographic area that includes East Los Angeles and South Los Angeles.

Direct beneficiaries per year:

8,500 children and youth are enrolled in art classes each year; 1,500 teachers and other educators attend professional development workshops


Learning and Achieving in the Arts (LATA): LATA employs specialized curricula in the visual and performing arts designed to address learning issues faced by inner-city children challenged to develop English language proficiency in tandem with the many other skills essential to academic achievement. Over 6,500 K–8 students from 10 LAUSD inner-city schools will benefit from this program in 2010. Arts Reach: The after-school Arts Reach Program provides hands-on experiences in visual and performing arts in a studio environment during out-of-school hours, on afternoons and Saturdays. Arts Reach serves diverse, underserved groups of students, providers, teachers and family members. During the 2008–09 school year, Arts Reach served 676 children and youth through 33 visual and performing arts workshops and classes; 48 providers, counselors and teachers through orientation and training workshops; and 505 family and audience members through 6 performances/exhibitions and culminations. Arts Reach offers middle school students a safe, after-school alternative to the dangerous streets. Inner-City Arts also hosts and delivers Para Los Niños After-School Programs, special programs for Say Yes! and programs for other social impact agencies. Performing Arts Institute and Visual & Media Arts Institute: Workshops for middle school and high school students, including Dance Choreography & Production; Theater Arts; Inner-City Arts - CAP Animation Workshop (in conjunction with CalArts); Graphic Design; and The Eamon Cannon Comedy Class. Belmont Family of Schools Project (Off-Track Program): Designed to provide constructive options for students during their off-track time, students self-select to participate in a double block of weekday classes. Inner-City Arts – Annenberg Professional Development Programs: Educational strategies that incorporate arts and arts-based instruction in the classroom yield marked improvement in student achievement in core academic subjects, and motivate teachers to remain in the profession and in inner-city schools. Inner-City Arts’ commitment to help teachers successfully integrate the arts into their classrooms is reflected by its professional development staff, teaching artist resources, and the many workshops and programs it offers: The Teachers’ Institute (a joint program with the UCLA Graduate School of Education); Orientation & Mid-session Trainings (introduce Inner-City Arts’ philosophy and methodology); Arts in the Middle Collaborative Training (for middle school teachers); Bridges to Classroom Integration (providing bridges between studio practice and the classroom); Arts in the Classroom-Possibilities & Payoffs (full-staff in-service training); Creativity in the Classroom (strategies for addressing various learning needs by integrating arts into all core subject areas); Creativity Practicum (a 2nd tier course for Creativity in the Classroom graduates); Arts for Language, Learning & Life (for teachers of adult-school and after-school programs); Follow-up Support (services to teachers who have previously participated in Inner-City Arts’ programs); and the Visiting Scholars and Artists Series (bringing renowned artists and scholars to Inner-City Arts to share arts education research and best practices).

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Reviews for Inner-City Arts

Rating: 5 stars  

Inner City Arts is one of the most profound, inspiring, and breakthrough arts education organizations in the United States. Not only are they effectively educating our most deserving students--many of them live in chronic poverty, lack basic nutrition, are surrounded by dangerous neighborhoods, and don't even have a place to call home--but they are instilling hope throughout our entire community. I don't say this about too many organizations, but Inner City Arts is truly an oasis of miracles.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen firsthand the (statistically) life changing impact they have on students, on families, and on our community. They are literally taking children from the throngs of poverty and making them superstars in school and in life. Not many organizations can credibly say that.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If I had to add any one thing to Inner City Arts it would be to extend their highly effective and inspiring education model from Skid Row in Los Angeles and apply it throughout the United States in some our most deserving neighborhoods. Places like Detroit, Newark, Philadelphia, the Bronx, and others would greatly benefit from the ideas, insights, experiences, and lessons Inner City Arts has to offer.

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