2020 Grants Challenge

ProjectArt LA: A Solution for Budget Cuts

Idea by ProjectArt

ProjectArt LA will provide the opportunity for young people in divested communities to express themselves creatively, overcome social barriers, and develop social skills so they can grow into thoughtful, empowered young adults. About two hundred students and teens will receive free visual arts classes taught after school hours by four local professional artists at Los Angeles Public Libraries. We will also host two art exhibitions featuring student and artist works that are free and open for the public to enjoy.


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

Central LA

East LA

South LA

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

ProjectArt LA vigorously responds to the need for quality, consistent, out-of-school arts education in LA’s highest need communities. In response to the lack of adequate arts learning opportunities in LA public schools, we take into account that schools with greater numbers of ESL learners, those who are eligible for free/reduced meals, and students of color disproportionately lack access.

Our mission is rooted in the belief that arts education is a critical tool for children to learn and develop. An essential part of STEAM, arts education has an inestimable impact on academic achievement and long-term outcomes that stretch beyond the class.

Inequity in arts and cultural engagement opportunities throughout LA aggravates the cycle of injustice in our disenfranchised communities. ProjectArt LA serves as the response to the lack of access to arts learning opportunities, filling the void by providing consistent art classes to children ages 4-18 in some of LA’s highest need communities.

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

In today’s world, we are turning to our youth to build a more equitable and resilient future: to tackle everything from climate change to gun violence. ProjectArt presents an unprecedented opportunity to work with students to navigate these complex critical issues through self expression and art making.

Change is only effective when it is led by and for those who are affected by a problem, and ProjectArt LA is a unifying force in this effort. We are uniquely suited to lead this initiative thanks to our long-standing partnerships with the Los Angeles Public Libraries (LAPL), collaborations with local groups, and phenomenal teaching artists. By partnering with LAPL, we can offer our enriching program free to students in their neighborhood libraries because overhead is low; just $500 supports one student for an entire school year.

We have served 500+ students over the course of three years. From increased self-esteem and improved social skills, our impact is proven year after year.

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

Direct Impact: 200

Indirect Impact: 400

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Today, ProjectArt LA students are taking on advanced art projects, learning art histories left out of the typical canon, and using creative problem-solving skills to challenge the status quo. They are being encouraged by mentors who believe in them and encourage a growth mindset where art is forgiving. They are checking out books and spending more time in their local library. Tomorrow, we hope to see better school attendance, higher GPAs, and decreased high school drop-out rates. ProjectArt LA believes in the power of creativity and the potential of every child. We are helping our children determine and sustain a more equitable future for themselves and communities by offering them a creative means to reflect and embrace their identities.

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

Our vision is to build the largest free art school in America without owning a single building. With this grant, we endeavor to impact the lives of even more children by expanding and enriching our proven model in LA’s most divested communities.

Success to ProjectArt LA means seeing students of all ages feel more confident, improve their art-making skills, and spend more time reading books. In the long-term, we hope to see more robust academic achievement and decreased drop-out rates. We want students to participate in our programs year after year.

ProjectArt LA leverages and utilizes technology to measure and track our outcomes by collecting attendance, student evaluations, images of student work, as well as librarian and resident artist feedback. Our exciting custom tracking app, ProjectArt Connects, allows us to internally record and track all data to then share with our supporters and communities.

In partnership with the GoldHirsh Foundation, ProjectArt expects to have accelerated outcomes in both social-emotional behaviors of our students as well as outcomes realized in our evaluations. Our latest data reveals telling information that this partnership will buttress even further.

For example, 2019 ProjectArt LA student evaluations revealed 95% of our high-need students learned more about art and artists due to our classes; 95% noticed improvements in their own art-making; 78% checked out books before and after class, and 89% felt more confident overall.

Which of the LEARN metrics will your submission impact?​

Arts education

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

LA is the best place to CREATE

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

Office space for meetings, events, or for staff

Capacity, including staff

Strategy assistance and implementation