December 20, 2017|

Three Poems from Arts Now: LA County Arts Education Summit

The following three poems were written onsite during the Arts Now: LA County Arts Education Summit. They were written for and in response to the events, ideas and topics of the summit.

By Cyrus Roberts

through art, allow me to share my fear
but i have a fear i’ll only fit a quota
like i’m included without inclusion
you act like your diversity is hurting
birthing a fear of reparation
desperation made me this way
fear of a non-white nation made you to hate but i’ll shine if you let me
i promise i will, will you let me
but i have a fear i’m only fitting a quota
your inclusion includes labeling me the exception
a fable labeled me a weapon
abel and cain were the first brothers to kill each other
my brothers kill each other
my brothers don’t necessarily share the same skin color
if you are breathing
you are my brother
so why do you kill us
why do you hate us
are you jealous
allow me to speak to a crowd about injustice
allow me to be the black poet who speaks on black issues
but i have a fear i’m only fitting your quota
let us explore the arts
sore through the heart, label me a king
label you a queen, a king, an emperor, an empress, a sultan, a sultana
a god, the god of the world you make
create art, create music, choose to lose the idea that
it’s not good enough
don’t fit the quota, redefine art itself
and love, and love, and love

By Brian Sonia-Wallace

Nelson Mandela says: "Speak to a man in a language he understands,
and you can change is mind. But speak to him in his own language,
and you can change his heart."

Madrugada me ve corriendo (Daybreak finds me running)
Bajo un cielo que empieza color… (Under a sky that's beginning to color)

Like a bridge over troubled water…

Language is learned through music
better than any other modality.
Our songs ARE scope and sequence,
students separated only by voice type
rising from their chairs.

We, too, are a choir
voices raised in support of one another
from the school board to the halls of Sacramento
the melody bears the message:
Arts ARE the intervention.

We read data like sheet music
slice politics with facts
that are not alternative but may provide alternatives.
(We wouldn't put up with these outcomes for reading!)
Here's what we have.
Here's what our students have a right to.
La lucha sigue.

How do we go from diversity to inclusion to belonging?
How do we uplift what's in our backyards rather than exporting?
How do we empower students to be their own advocates,
just by giving them the language?

In the words of a 17-year-old, "Youth are not the future, they are the now."
So now:

  • we commit to listening
  • to learning new languages, from dance to data,
  • uplifting young hearts, trading number scales for adjectives.

We are arts advocates
so we are ideas people and idealists,
building Wonderland
through sweat equity;
we have believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast!
It's after four, now.
We're on to fondue.
But we refuse
to stop

By Aman K. Batra

If our history writes our stories
better than we can,
where do we go from here?

Struggling to prosper,
stuck and equal,
growth born from discomfort
like 3,000 cherry blossoms
suspended in the air.

If you knew me,
you would know the broken glass
of my fractured identity.
Every day I am shattered
and reconstructed again,
a dark figure reflecting
shades of deep purple.

    The eyes melting but I can still see
    The skin in flames but I can still feel

What am I if not the echo
of my name repeated back to me?
A fiber in the wind?
There is so much strength
in my fragility, so much to unlearn
in our conditioning,
in the removal of setting.

I am a collection of found objects:
a hallowed out redwood,
a line from a Rodriguez poem,
the ash of memory from burned trees.

I am culture redefined,
exhibit of borderland,
summit of translation,
notebook of observation,
pink light full of conviction
telling anyone who will listen:

    If our history writes our stories
    better than we can,
    our very existence
    is a renaissance.

December 13, 2017|

Arts Now: LA County Summit Resources

The Arts Now: LA County Arts Education Summit marked 15 years of coordinated efforts in arts education for the County, and was co-presented by the LA County Arts Ed Collective, the California Alliance for Arts Education, Arts for LA and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. The event was part of the statewide Arts Now Campaign, which works to shed light on school districts and counties that are currently working to improve the quality of student education through the arts, and to encourage others to prioritize arts education in a K-12 educational setting.

Below, resources and presentation materials can be found and downloaded.


Breakout One

Breakout Two

Breakout Three

October 26, 2017|

Virtual reality, graffiti and other ideas to expand arts instruction

By Carla Javier/KPCC

California law requires schools to offer arts instruction from first to 12th grade. But, in practice, not all students are getting equitable access to arts education.

So the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective is trying a new approach: forming an Arts Ed Innovation Lab, and working with stakeholders to create prototypes – small but scalable projects that creatively increase access to arts education for more, and ideally all, students.

​"We launched the Arts Education Innovation Lab with this idea of really rethinking, 'What is it going to take to really get us to scale in arts education so that arts education doesn't continue to just be for some kids in some classrooms in some schools in some parts of the county," Los Angeles County Arts Commission director of arts education Denise Grande told the group of over 40 gathered for the Innovation Lab's Boot Camp.

Read the Full Article

June 29, 2017|

Is L.A.'s new juvenile jail really worth $48 million? Yes. Here's why

By the LA Times Editorial Board

LA Times reported that Campus Kilpatrick, a new juvenile probation camp for LA County students, will open its doors to students in August. 

At $48 million, it was a breathtakingly costly project. But with the help of state bond money, the old Kilpatrick was razed and replaced by a facility that does indeed look and feel more like — well, if not a camp, perhaps a small college campus, notwithstanding the locked gates. Living quarters resemble those in more modern private group homes, four or six beds to a unit. The staff-to-ward ratio is smaller. Probation officers, psychologists and other staff who requested assignment to the new Kilpatrick have been intensively trained in what county leaders like to call “the L.A. model” of juvenile rehabilitation. It is based in part on a Missouri program that features small groups and positive reinforcement, and that — significantly — boasts remarkably low rates of new offenses following release.


Read full article

June 15, 2017|

Los Angeles County Arts Education Efforts Reach 15-Year Milestone






June 15, 2017

Marta Martinez, (213) 273-8334

Leticia Rhi Buckley, (213) 202-5935 


LA County Educators, Arts Organizations and Advocates
Work to Make the Arts Core in Public Education

June 15, 2017 - The Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective (Arts Ed Collective), formerly Arts for All, marks 15 years of significant progress in advancing arts education across the region with a name change, the launch of a new website and a public announcement of the Arts Education Innovation Lab. The work of hundreds of community partners has continued to grow over the last 15 years, and new attention is aimed at surfacing innovative solutions for reaching full scale so that all students engage in the arts as a core part of their schooling.

In 2002, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established the Arts Ed Collective to align local partners with the shared goal that all of LA County’s 1.5 million public school students receive ongoing, quality arts instruction. Staff of the LA County Arts Commission coordinates the regional effort and the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) provides curriculum support to school districts. Strategic guidance for the Arts Ed Collective comes from the 13 member Leadership Council, with additional support from the Funders Council, comprised of 27 private funders.

LA County’s 81 school districts range from rural to urban, some with one school and others with hundreds of schools, making the Arts Ed Collective uniquely positioned to investigate how to build infrastructure that ensures every student, regardless of zip code, has access to high quality arts instruction. “The democratization of culture means achieving equity in the access and content of arts instruction,” says Laura Zucker, Executive Director, Arts Commission. “Sixty-five LA County school districts and four charter networks are now part of the Arts Ed Collective, and the initiative is on track to reach all 81 school districts in the County by 2020.”

Surmounting challenges, such as the Great Recession and shifting education policies, the initiative proudly boasts a number of key accomplishments over the last 15 years:

  • 65 board-approved school district policies and strategic plans for arts education
  • $3.8M granted to support arts education in schools
  • $10.8M raised by the Funders Council
  • 74 LA County school districts and four charter networks participated in the Arts Ed Profile Countywide data collection
  • 500 system-involved youth received arts instruction as part of a cross-agency endeavor to embed the arts into LA County’s juvenile justice reform
  • 4,000 educators trained in connecting the arts with core subjects through the Technology Enhanced Arts Learning (TEAL) project

While the Arts Ed Collective marks 15 years of progress, it also looks ahead with the initiation of the Arts Education Innovation Lab (Innovation Lab). The Innovation Lab gathers experts from across sectors to address scale and equity of arts instruction for LA County public school students. Together they will generate new solutions for moving the work beyond incremental change and catapult arts education over the next 15 years. The Innovation Lab has hosted a series of convenings, workgroups and in-depth discussions, and is led jointly by the Arts Ed Collective, Arts for LA and LACOE.

The work of the Innovation Lab dovetails with the LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, an 18-month public process that produced 13 recommendations to the LA County Board of Supervisors to ensure that everyone in LA County has equitable access to arts and culture. Four of the recommendations propose support for arts education. “Now more than ever, we want to ensure that all students, in every classroom, in each public school, receive a well-rounded education, and that the arts remain core to student success,” shares Denise Grande, Director of Arts Education at the LA County Arts Commission.

Educators, arts organizations, teaching artists, grantmakers, advocates and other stakeholders, as well as school districts and charter school networks are collectively responsible for advancing arts education over the last fifteen years. The transition to the new name, the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective, more clearly acknowledges the shared nature of the regional effort.

The new highlights the work of all these partners and features an improved platform for accessing resources and staying informed. The site also includes a directory of arts organizations working in school districts across the region and offers models of best practices for practitioners and advocates.

There will be numerous opportunities to celebrate the anniversary throughout the 2017-18 school year, including the Arts Education Summit on December 8, 2017 where the Arts Ed Profile report and findings will be released. To learn more, follow @LACountyArtsEd on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for the Arts Ed Collective newsletter or visit

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