2021 Grants Challenge

Podcasting Workshop: Power over Stigma

Idea by artworxLA

artworxLA respectfully requests support for the virtual Spring and Fall 2022 sessions of documentary podcasting workshop at the Design & Media Arts Academy (DAMA) at LAUSD’s Central High School- Tri C (John Adams branch). Empowering students with foundational storytelling skills, the program gives high-risk youth an entryway to contribute to the Los Angeles arts landscape with Career technical skills and a platform on which they can share their experiences. The course is led by Denise Gaberman (LAUSD Career and Technical Education instructor).


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

Central LA

South LA

Other:: Our other levels also serve options 2-4 & 6


What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Combating an imbalance in educational opportunities at alternative education high schools, artworxLA works to engage students in their education and put them on a track towards high school graduation with a plan to gear them towards a creative career pathway through arts education. The goal is to use creative learning to re-engage severely underserved students who are struggling with failing grades, behavioral issues, a history of incarceration or expulsion. We succeed by providing meaningful collaborations and creative networks to advance shared community goals. We expect our students to contribute their own voice to the city given full and equal access to its resources. Our programming, like the podcasting project, provides a way for students to share their stories and create their own journalism while also addressing the lack of accessibility to technology and resources these schools have.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The Podcasting Workshop: Power over Stigma empowers L.A. youth with foundational storytelling skills, designed to give high-risk students a platform on which to share their experiences. The workshop promotes access and develops pathways for diverse emerging talent, and underrepresented youth to explore careers in arts and entertainment as the only LAUSD continuation high school offering a Media Arts Career Technical Education certificate at graduation. Linked to artworxLA’s Level 1 classroom workshops—in which students create original artwork that addresses socio-political themes—our Design and Media Arts Academy (DMAA) students created a podcast series entitled Power Over Stigma, which explores life in the alternative HS system from their perspective. Students anticipate working on each episode which features a student “guest” interview in-studio and field recordings documenting aspects of their life—as affected by negative stereotypes. Inspired by the exhibition “Banish Stigma: The Power of Personal Voice and Representation,” at the Fowler Museum in UCLA, participants related to the concept of “stigma” in multiple cultural and historical contexts, informed by the photography exhibition Through Positive Eyes about people living with HIV. Applying the concept in their own lives, Power Over Stigma, emerged from a classroom discussion Ms. Gaberman had with a disengaged teen who said that he and his peers have been labeled the “bad kids” who would never meet expectations.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 150

Indirect Impact: 1,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

artworxLA leverages partnerships with artists/creative professionals, cultural centers, and higher education to realize a career “ladder,” currently administered Virtually. Level 1 classroom workshops, students create artwork that addresses socio-political themes. Level 2 after-school residencies offer students real-world experience. Level 3 secures scholarships in art programs at CalArts, Otis, and ArtCenter. In Level 4 focuses on creative pathways to employment and career preparation. artworxLA bridges the graduation gap for students who historically have significantly lower rates by using the arts to improve individual skills, and attitudes in preparation for success in the workforce. artworxLA's DMAA is the only LAUSD continuation high school that offers a CTE certificate for Media Arts thanks to our work. We believe our model is in line with your goals related to the Arts Education, Enrollment in afterschool programs and High school graduation rates metric goals.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

In addition to tracking the number of schools and students benefiting from programming in 2020/21, artworxLA utilizes a two-tiered evaluation method designed to measure success and capture student feedback. A SPEAKUP! self-assessment survey asks participants to reflect on their art project with the 4Cs in mind: Communication, Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Collaboration. artworxLA has also developed a 14-point questionnaire as a means to refine program offerings to answer individual challenges. Beyond skill acquisition and quality of artwork, artworxLA will evidence positive results on percentage staying in school and on track to graduate. Student Zion said, “I learned that as a team we can do anything. Especially with the school environment I’m in right now. It’s really cool be in a team again and make something happen.” We have also worked with the USC School of Social Work to update methodology to better equip students with workforce skills.

Which of the LEARN metrics will you impact?​

Arts education

Enrollment in afterschool programs

High school graduation rates