download (1)Arts for All, the Los Angeles Arts Commission’s county-wide arts education initiative, is providing funds to eight non-profit arts organizations to work with Los Angeles County students in five school districts with high Title I populations. 

Approximately $107,000 will be distributed through Arts for All’s Student Access Fund to create greater access to the arts for students in underserved districts. Students will receive in-depth arts instruction during the 2013-14 school year through multi-week residency programs with teaching artists. The program is supported by The Eisner Foundation, California Community Foundation and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Participating school districts are Compton Unified, Lancaster Elementary, Little Lake City Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and South Whittier Elementary School Districts. The arts organizations providing instruction are Theatre of Hearts/Youth First, Flights of Fancy, Royer Studios and The Music Center.

While the roll out of the new Common Core State Standards presents challenges to school districts, it also presents innovative opportunities for arts education on a much larger scale. The standards call for complex and creative thinking by students, and increasingly educators are exploring ways in which teaching through the arts can help achieve educational goals.

“We know that there are areas of the County where few partnerships between arts organizations and school districts exist,” says Arts for All Director Dense Grande. “Our objective is to build and nurture sustainable partnerships between the arts and education communities where there is little interaction.”

Research commissioned by Arts for All in 23 Los Angeles County school districts revealed that students in high poverty areas have less access to quality arts education compared to their peers attending schools in more affluent areas. In response to this inequity, the Student Access Fund is dedicating resources to districts where over 65% of students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals and less than 40% of the schools receive services from outside arts education providers. Priority was also given to districts that did not receive any other Arts for All funding during the 2012-13 school year.

“Launching the Student Access Fund represents a major milestone for Arts for All in
addressing the diverse needs of our partner districts, enabling us to broker relationships with the larger arts community that stands ready to support them,” concludes Grande.

All five districts plan to use this designated funding to undertake residency work, which demonstrates their commitment to bring arts education into classrooms during the school day. Some are also combining instruction with field trip opportunities. Most are implementing projects that integrate learning objectives in both the Visual and Performing Arts Standards and the Common Core State Standards. Some are also utilizing this partnership as an opportunity for in-classroom professional development to strengthen classroom teachers’ capacity to deliver arts instruction on their own.

Arts for All, an initiative of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, supports Los Angeles County public school districts’ efforts to implement arts education through policy development, strategic planning, grants to improve teaching and learning, advocacy, research and partnerships with funders committed to arts education. The goal is to strengthen and sustain high quality arts instruction and integration as students prepare for college and the 21st century workforce. There are currently 52 school districts and two Los Angeles charter school networks participating in this countywide initiative established in 2002 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. For more information, visit