2022 Grants Challenge

STEAM Sundays at MOLAA

"STEAM Sundays at MOLAA" provides youth and families with free STEAM-based arts education during MOLAA's "Free Sundays" while providing Los Angeles County STEAM Teaching Artists creative industry employment opportunities. The project increases access to Museum STEAM programs, removes language barriers by providing English and Spanish programming, and provides STEAM Teaching Artists with employment and professional experience.


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?

County of Los Angeles

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

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

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

There is a clear need for K-12 STEAM-based arts education programs that complement the standard academic curriculum, especially in underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged communities. Research has consistently shown that access to arts education is lower in African American and Latinx communities and has been steadily declining for 30 years. Public schools do not have sufficient resources for consistent arts education, and teachers must seek supplemental programming outside the classroom. There is also a need to offer recent college graduates and entry-level creative professionals meaningful creative industry employment opportunities and professional development experiences, especially those from underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged communities. Finally, this program will positively impact the selected teaching artists’ economic sustainability, future career trajectory, and lifetime earning potential.

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

“STEAM Sundays at MOLAA” will provide engaging STEAM educational programming for approximately 20 of the 52 “Free Sundays” between January 1, 2023, and October 31, 2023. The activities will take place from 1 PM to 3 PM in the museum lobby, art studio, and specific outdoor spaces, including the educational corner garden. During the first year, MOLAA expects to serve 5,000 students and families. Four teaching artists who specialize in creating connections between science, technology, engineering, art, and math through hands-on, innovative community projects will be hired. Activities include: • Kaleidoscope kits and pendulum paintings inspired by kinetic and optical Venezuelan artists like Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jesús Rafael Soto. • Experimentation in neuropathic art and geometric design on mental health. • Learning how to construct miniature floating gardens (chinampas), a technique used in Mesoamerican agriculture. • The artistic application of mathematical concepts to drawing and photography of Chicana Artist Laura Aguilar, such as symmetry, proportion, perspective, tessellation, and polyhedra. The goals are two-fold; to deepen audience learning and consideration of STEAM career pathways and to encourage authentic engagement with Latin American art through hands-on trans-disciplinary instruction and artistic experimentation.

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

MOLAA envisions a Los Angeles where historically underserved communities, especially Latinx youth and families, have access to high-quality bilingual arts education and opportunities for stable employment in the STEAM and creative industries. Studies show that students engaged in the arts demonstrate gains in overall academic performance, college attendance, critical thinking, verbal skills, and decreased dropout rates. Providing these K-12 STEAM education experiences will not only impact student participants' short-term progress but also increase the likelihood that they will have the skills and confidence to pursue careers in STEAM-based industries. Los Angeles County is home to 37,759 arts-related businesses that employ 265,874 people and account for 7% of the total businesses and 5% of employed individuals. Providing stable employment opportunities for STEAM Teaching Artists will contribute to the ongoing expansion of this crucial sector of the Los Angeles economy.

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

MOLAA will measure its success by conducting pre-and post-visit surveys with selected parents and student participants throughout the year, along with surveying all four Teaching Artists. MOLAA's surveys use anchoring vignettes and collect qualitative data measuring the program's impact on the following criteria: the participant's level of understanding of relevant themes presented, their general satisfaction with the experience, and the likelihood of sharing their experiences with their communities and returning to the Museum. According to the National Science Foundation, Latino men represent 4% of the workforce in STEAM industries, and Latina women only 2% despite comprising 19% of the population. This gap illustrates the need for STEAM programming nationwide. In Los Angeles County, 48.6% of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latinx, the primary demographic that MOLAA will serve with this project.

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

Direct Impact: 2,000

Indirect Impact: 5,000