In an effort to spread the word about the incredible organizations we give back to and the work they're accomplishing, we're continuing our Giving Spotlight blog series. This month's spotlight is on the extraordinary PSARTS.
P.S. ARTS was created in response to significant education budget cuts in the 1970s and 1980s, which cut local tax revenues for public schools and resulted in the systematic reduction and elimination of arts programs in California public schools.
In 1991, Dr. Paul Cummins, renowned educator, author, and founder of Crossroads School in Santa Monica, was on his way to the kitchen during a potluck dinner and literally bumped into a man that he had never met but looked quite familiar – famed musician Herb Alpert. They began a conversation, which has become P.S. ARTS folklore: Paul decried the lack of arts education at a local school he had recently visited. Herb’s response was, “You mean the arts are just gone from these public schools? What if I gave you a grant?” And thus, P.S. ARTS was founded as an outreach project of the Crossroads Community Foundation. In 2003, P.S. ARTS received its own non-profit 501(c)(3) designation.
P.S. ARTS has grown from serving 285 students in one school to over 25,000 students in 57 underserved schools across Los Angeles County and California’s Central Valley; P.S. ARTS also serves nearly 10,000 students and families through our Community Engagement programs. In 2014, P.S. ARTS acquired the award-winning after-school arts organization Inside Out Community Arts to further expand our scope of service. Today, P.S. ARTS is widely regarded as an exemplary arts education provider, reaching beyond providing arts instruction and increasing quality, equity, and access in education by disseminating program resources, providing professional development, and contributing to national arts education policy discussions" (source).
P.S. ARTS is dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing arts education to underserved public schools and communities. P.S. ARTS is the only organization in Southern and Central California that provides high quality arts education in dance, music, theater, and visual arts to every child in a school during the regular school day and after-school.
Without our programs, children in these underfunded school districts would not have access to the arts. P.S. ARTS also coordinates with school administrators and parent groups to provide community outreach services designed to increase the community’s capacity to advocate for educational equity and to provide critical cultural experiences for the entire family. P.S. ARTS programs help level the educational playing field by teaching creative and cognitive skills to students struggling to overcome economic, ability, or literacy barriers that will better equip them to be competitive and successful people.
Studies show the arts keep children motivated and engaged, and with the high school dropout rate in Los Angeles County as high as 50% in recent years, the children in our community need the arts now more than ever" (source).
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