LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Art + AI for LA Youth

Idea by poieto

poietoworks, a project of poieto, is a STEAM education initiative that provides LA elementary school students with creative entry points to emerging technologies. Our students-primarily BIPOC and from low-income backgrounds-learn fundamental coding concepts all while having fun and making art. In classrooms across LA, we aim to enhance creativity, digital equity, and feelings of belonging in the tech space.


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

South LA

West LA

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?

California's students-particularly Black, Latino, and students from low-income backgrounds-continue to face opportunity and achievement gaps in math and science. A minority of elementary school students meet state standards for science. LA students deserve greater access to and equity in STEM education, and it ought to have the greatest impact possible: the addition of Art to STEM, thus STEAM education, uniquely enables students to engage scientific concepts and problem-solving with creativity and imagination. A 2016 study showed that students who received just nine hours of STEAM instruction improved in their district assessments (1). Improvements made early on can compound to enhance the opportunities these students will have in secondary school, higher education, and the workforce. (1) Brouillette, L., & Graham, N. J. Using arts integration to make science learning memorable in the upper elementary grades: A quasi-experimental study.

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

poietoworks, a project of poieto, is a STEAM education initiative that provides LA elementary school students with creative entry points to emerging technologies. poietoworks is dedicated to empowering youth in underserved communities-primarily BIPOC and from low-income backgrounds-to learn and build more ethical and equitable technology. Through the development of our original curriculum and instruction, our students learn fundamental coding concepts all while having fun and making art. Our programming is unique among STEAM education initiatives in that we incorporate the passions and interests of our students and the communities they exist within into our curriculum, and we collaborate and consult with local knowledge experts and artists on the art and technology examples used in our lesson plans. Through this hyper-local focus, we ensure that our curriculum is immediately relevant and meaningful to our students, and thus effectively increases their sense of representation and belonging in a tech space that might otherwise feel inaccessible. Since the inception of poietoworks in 2022, we have implemented our STEAM courses in five elementary schools and served 500+ students. With our organizational partners, Gang Alternatives Program and Inner City Arts, we aim to continue current programming and expand to enroll an additional 85 kids across LA in the coming academic year. Grant funding would support our teaching staff and the purchase of vital instructional materials.

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

We aim to equip our students with basic coding skills and an expanded toolbox of software and hardware; an understanding of AI and data; original artworks created using digital tools; and experience as responsible technologists ready to tackle the sociotechnical challenges of tomorrow. Over the 2023-24 grant period/school year, we aim to achieve: Measurable Impact: -Continue our programming in 5 elementary schools -Serve 585 students, a 15% increase from the 500 served in the 2022-23 school year Equity & Belonging: -Serve 500+ BIPOC and 500+ students from low-income backgrounds -Achieve ?90% participant-reported interest in continuing STEAM courses; confidence in tech skills; and sense of belonging in the tech space Force Multiplier: -Continue attaining a repeat programming request rate of 100% among participating schools Over the longer term, we aim to expand programming to 20 elementary schools, and to serve 2,000 students in underserved communities across LA, per academic year.

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

To date, our small but mighty team of 17 staff members has established evidence-based programs in 5 schools across LA County, and has served over 500 students with meaningful results. Quantitative measures of our impact include: - 450 BIPOC students and 425 students from low-income backgrounds served. - Of students surveyed, 74% have reported increased confidence and sense of belonging in the tech space. 78% have reported increased confidence in coding. 76% have reported an interest in continuing STEAM courses. - Of the five schools in which we have established programming, all five (100%) have requested repeat programming for the 2023-24 academic year.

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

Direct Impact: 585

Indirect Impact: 2,000

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

We will be partnering directly with Inner City Arts to deliver programming for Para Los Ninos Charter Middle School, and with Gang Alternatives Program (GAP) to deliver programming to their Gangfree-partnered elementary schools. So far, these include 232nd Elementary, Ambler Elementary, and Catskill Elementary for the 2023-24 school year. Inner City Arts and GAP have partnerships with LAUSD, serve students of all backgrounds, and will be the drivers of enrollment in our classes.