Bringing Arts & Inspiration to the Inner City
Artist and educator Bob Bates witnessed the dramatic cuts to L.A.’s arts education programs firsthand, throughout the late 1970s and 1980s – and he knew he needed to be part of the solution.
In 1989, Bates teamed up with area business leader Irwin Jaeger and launched Inner-City Arts. Designed to be an art space for kids, the first studio opened in Downtown Los Angeles and immediately attracted an audience of young creatives.
Fast forward 30 years and Inner-City Arts is now considered one of the most effective arts education providers in the area, with a continued mission to engage young people in the creative process. In doing this, Inner-City Arts can help shape a society of creative, confident and collaborative individuals.
“Inner-City Arts is an oasis of learning, achievement and creativity in the heart of Skid Row,” says Jamie Cataldo, Director of Individual Giving and Events at Inner-City Arts. “The organization serves more than 6,000 students and over 1,000 educators annually.”
For K-12 students, Inner-City Arts provides learner-centered, research-based instruction in the arts, both in and out of the school day. Currently, Inner-City Arts offers more than 20 different art forms across its programs, all taught by Teaching Artists in the group’s specially-designed studios.
“We also provide educators with the skills, tools and resources to integrate the arts into their own schools,” Cataldo adds. “Through our Professional Development Institute, we’ve developed a range of services for participants at all stages of their career, from pre-service teachers to school administrators.” This, she notes, helps contribute to whole-school systematic change.
Inner-City Arts is also home to The Rosenthal Theater, a state-of-the-art black box theater that provides an important communal space where students, educators and local community members can come together to practice, explore and perform. Throughout the year, the theater provides exciting community engagement activities, including free performances and presentations.
“Our newest program, Work of Art, is a multi-year college and creative career exploration program aimed at teens interested in translating their artistic skills to their future workplaces,” Cataldo notes. “This program is in the process of expanding to a social entrepreneurship model, opening its own store and art factory for its students, who will have an opportunity to design their own branded items to sell or give away on our campus.”
That’s where ePromos for Good comes in. Before students begin to apply their designs, they need a blank canvas for printing – ePromos merchandise and products are a great place to start. With their ePromos for Good Award, Inner-City Arts will look to purchase blank t-shirts, tote bags, water bottles and drinking mugs which, later, will incorporate student designs.
“We’ll then use these items for our students to print their own designs and sell them or use them as giveaways during fundraising events,” explains Cataldo.
Organizations are chosen based on their commitment to doing good – good we’ve seen in each of our winners, including the Rescue + Freedom Project, Save a Child’s Heart and the National Youth Internet Safety and Cyberbullying Task Force.