2016 Grants Challenge

Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network: using arts to build #camptocareer pipeline for youth

AIYN will provide ongoing multi-disciplinary arts in 16 youth detention sites in order to transform young people, the systems that serve them, and connect them to the creative economy in Los Angeles


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Actors' Gang, Armory Center for the Arts, ArtWorx, Coalition for Engaged Education, InsideOut Writers, Jail Guitar Doors, Rhythm Arts Alliance, Street Poets, Unusual Suspects, Write Girl/Bold Ink

Please describe your project proposal.

Under the coordination of AIYN, our ten member organizations will provide three 12-week cycles of multi-disciplinary arts in ten youth detention camps/halls and six Juvenile Day Reporting Centers across LA County in order to build youth resiliency, foster wellness and support career pathways to creative economies after release. Funds will leverage the current investment by LA County Probation and Arts Commission, enabling us to cover the full cost of our program.

Which of the CREATE metrics will your proposal impact?​

Employment in the creative industries

Jobs per capita

Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating

Unemployment (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated

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

County of Los Angeles

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

AIYN is building a #camptocreativecareer pipeline through engagement, exposure, and connection to arts as a viable career option to youth in the justice system – youth who are also dramatically underrepresented in the creative economy.

AIYN is helping to strengthen voices of underrepresented youth, building pathways to the creative economy and creative industries, increasing the likelihood these students will graduate from higher education institutions with a goal of staying in Los Angeles (the creative economy capital of the country), and increasing employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated youth. We’re doing this by providing ongoing, multi-disciplinary arts engagement and skills-building by our members conducted in juvenile detention sites across Los Angeles County, contact with creative industry professionals through our teaching and guest artists, and connecting youth to creative economy pathways post-release.

The arts are known to be extremely effective in strengthening 21st Century job skills (creativity, cooperation, critical thinking, communication, and compassion) — skills favored by today’s employers and necessary skills for entrepreneurship. By building a pathway to employment in the creative economy/creative industries, we are not only providing a positive, long-term, sustainable career to youth who are in desperate need of options, we are also creating a pathway for inclusion of underrepresented voices in the creative economy. The vast majority - 97 percent - of youth AIYN serves are from communities of color.

Due to our collaborative structure and unique partnership with LA County Probation Department and LA County Arts Commission, AIYN has unparalleled access to youth currently in detention and their families. Since our inception, we have rapidly expanded to serve youth at 10 of the 14 active juvenile detention sites in LA County. Additionally, we are beginning programming in all six Juvenile Day Reporting Centers (Probation-run schools) where we can more directly connect youth to creative economy pathways.

The very nature of our scale means that AIYN is itself increasing the number of creative jobs per capita, by providing steadier, increased opportunities for our teaching artists. Several of these teaching artists are in fact alum of our members’ programs. By providing opportunities for high school credit recovery through arts classes, we believe our efforts will significantly increase the enrollment and retention rates in higher institutions, particularly in creative economy fields. As one of the youth stated: “[Now] I see myself finishing school at CSUN and receiving a masters in art so I can continue my goal and do art therapy with incarcerated youths.”

AIYN is poised to become a powerful vehicle for partnership among community agencies, and between community agencies and public partners. With support, AIYN can become a valuable asset in strengthening and diversifying LA's creative economy.

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

We're thrilled that our success to date has solidified our partnership with public agencies. Additionally, we will use evaluation surveys to gather information from students at the beginning and conclusion of each 12-week program cycle — in order to measure success for the project. Survey feedback will help us measure:

- number of students enrolled in classes

- increase in student social-emotional skills, as measured by pre- and post- evaluation surveys

- increase in 21st Century creative economy job skills (communication, cooperation, compassion, critical thinking, creativity) as measured by pre- and post- evaluation surveys

- number of students continuing a pathway to creative economy careers (as measured by enrollment in internships, jobs, etc.)

- number of Probation staff who receive hands-on arts training (systems change)

- Number of youth engaged in defining advocacy and policy priorities

- Number of AIYN members and supporters who send letters, emails, and phone calls regarding advocacy opportunities

Additionally, we have a standard list of qualitative questions for the wrap-up class to gather more open-ended student feedback. This feedback will also inform a collective platform for advocacy, as well as helping ongoing program improvement.

We also implement pre- and post-surveys for Probation staff, as well as for our teaching artists, to ensure constant program evaluation and improvement.

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




Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)

Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)