2020 Grants Challenge

Play with Music

We're ready to expand our in-school and after school programs to 4 more schools (2 semesters at each school). Each program brings 8-10 professional artists to create original music with students. Students learn the ropes by doing it with pro's, touching all aspects of the creative process, including technology and business. We prioritize equipping students with the skills, knowledge, relationships and opportunities to start their careers through our program, including field trips and internship opportunities in addition to weekly sessions.


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

South LA

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Two Bit Circus Foundation

Play with Music Program

Green Dot Public Schools

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

Play with Music brings the content and expertise of the creative program (bringing artists to work with students, the curriculum itself, field trips and internship opportunities, etc). Green Dot Public Schools is our educational administrative partner that Play with Music has worked with since 2015. We'll work together to create and meet metrics of success and expand our existing programs to reach more students at more schools. The Two Bit Circus Foundation is Play with Music's newest partner, who not only brings passion and expertise in bringing STEAM education programs to schools and spaces, but also the highest level of administrative and operations experience and personnel needed to scale Play with Music to 4 more schools.

What is the need you’re responding to?

Creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking are considered the most important skills for the 21st century, yet our schools, especially in low income communities, are missing the corresponding classes and programs to build these skills. Every child has potential, but not every child has access to opportunities to develop it. We're responding to this problem. We're building and delivering programs that meet this need. We're also bringing the enormous talent and resources of the creative industry in Los Angeles to students in South LA to expand their horizons with opportunities for learning, networking and seeding creative careers.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

Play with Music was created solely to bring programs fostering creative career paths and professional collaboration to youth in communities without access to it. Teaming up with our new partner, Two Bit Circus Foundation (2BCF), who has taken PWM under its umbrella, we're able to uplift and cultivate a new generation of creators. 2BCF, a California education organization, collaborates with educators PreK-12 to support science, technology, engineering, art, music and mathematics (STEAM) education. Its programs transform the classroom from lecture-centered into MAKER-based experimental labs of inquisition, critical thinking, and re-imagining. 2BCF works primarily, but not exclusively, with teachers and students from PreK-12 Title I schools, which remain chronically underfunded and under-resourced in materials that are needed for project-based learning. Overall, 2BCF’s students are 31% African American, 53% Hispanic, 1% American Indian, 6% Asian, and 9% Caucasian.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 700

Indirect Impact: 2,100

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

We primarily work in Watts in South Los Angeles, one of the most systemically underserved neighborhoods in LA county, with some of our highest crime rates, food insecurity and poverty levels. Our proposal brings tangible opportunities to youth in South LA to become creators, to collaborate with professionals and develop relationships and pathways for their careers. The impact is uplifting and empowering this yet unseen and unheard creative generation by simply building bridges that bring the music and creative industry powerhouse TO the youth of South LA. We are breaking down socio-economic barriers, cycles of poverty, the creativity deficit, the tech literacy gap and the injustice of unequal access to opportunities and creative jobs.

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

Our vision for success is to provide modern, relevant, immersive programs that equip youth with the creative skills, support and connections they need to thrive in the creative industry of Los Angeles. We hope to expand our program that has served Locke High School in Watts for 3 years to progWe define success by:

-Student retention and graduation rates

-Number of internships/apprenticeships and career opportunities secured for students

-Student surveys

-Teacher / school administrator surveys

-Professional artist surveys

We know we're successful when students, schools and artists ask for the program to come back (which has been the case since we started!)

Which of the CREATE metrics will your submission impact?​

Employment in the creative industries

Global cultural and economic influence (“soft power”)

Unemployment rate

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Communications support

Strategy assistance and implementation