2022 Grants Challenge

Equitable Professional Arts Training at LACHSA

LA County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) provides and preserves a unique space for diverse, young artists to learn, create, and thrive, inspiring them to discover who they are, their place in the world, and how their creative passion benefits humanity. LACHSA is recognized as the #1 public arts high school in the country and is a leader in developing the next generation of artists and creative workers. Funding from the LA2050 Grants Challenge will support this exceptional school's arts programs and outreach.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

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

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

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

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

In 2020, there were over 1.3 million jobs in the creative economy in California. The need for new generations of well-trained talented artists and creative workers is significant, yet due to decades of declines in arts education funding at the K-12 level, inequities in access to arts training in schools have continued to grow, often leaving talented students from under-resourced schools and neighborhoods far behind. This leaves many with the desire, drive, and talent to pursue an art form without the means and access to do so. We believe that comprehensive arts programs are not only essential, but vital to the complete development of all students and especially important in expanding career pathways and college readiness and success. Investment is needed in programs and arts high schools, like LACHSA, that can create equitable access to professional level arts training and can uplift young potential artists to see themselves in STEAM careers and as the culture makers of the future.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The LA County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) has been addressing the need for equitable access to artistic and creative training with our successful model of professional-level arts education in a public school setting. The LACHSA Foundation was specifically founded as a response to the decimation of arts education in California's public schools. Through its creation and support of LACHSA, free conservatory-style arts education has been provided, for decades, to diverse and talented young student artists who go on to top arts conservatories and colleges and ultimately into the arts and entertainment sectors. Students study one of five core disciplines: music, visual arts, dance, theater, and cinematic arts. Specializations in opera, theatre technology, music technology, fashion, and more are part of the program too. Classes are taught by professional artists-in-residence who provide mentorship and real-world experience. In order to help increase the pipeline of diverse students from throughout LA County and address some of the lack of access to arts training in elementary and middle schools, LACHSA has engaged an Equity Coordinator to build internal and external partnerships with LACHSA. Through these outreach efforts, the Coordinator will be reaching talented yet socioeconomically disadvantaged youth who may have no access to arts tools or training, introducing them to opportunities with or at LACHSA.

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

While some progress has been made, in-depth arts programs in public schools throughout Los Angeles County remain inadequate due to limited funding and prioritization. At the same time the importance of the creative economy to the region's civic, cultural, and financial health cannot be overstated. Our vision is for LACHSA’s tuition-free, professional-level arts education to provide a pathway for talented youth, regardless of the neighborhood they were raised in, their socio-economic status, or other challenging factors, to pursue a career in the arts and find rewarding work in the creative economy. Los Angeles is the creative capital of the world, and needs new generations of diverse talented artists and creative workers to continue to thrive. Equitable access to programs like LACHSA is an ideal way to achieve that goal.

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

LACHSA's current student demographic makeup is 30% Latino, 39% Caucasian, 13% Asian/Pacific Islander, 7% African American, and 11% two or more races. Roughly 63% of the students identify as female, 1% as non-binary, and 27% qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. While these numbers show a great deal of diversity, our goal is to achieve demographics that even better reflect those of students across LA County. We will measure the impact of the DEI work by the Equity Coordinator's outreach and partnership building through the interest in, and matriculation to LACHSA from communities that will benefit from this uplift. We will also measure the number of programs and partnerships that are developed with elementary and middle school students throughout the county as well as with other non profit arts organizations and providers. Additional measurement will come from the matriculation rate of LACHSA students to college level arts programs or directly into creative fields.

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

Direct Impact: 600

Indirect Impact: 25,000