Celebrating 30 Years of P.S. ARTS!

on September 9, 2021

This September, P.S. ARTS is celebrating 30 years of providing arts education to public schools and communities. Join the celebration with giveaways (including backpacks filled with art supplies!), a website relaunch, new programs and district partnerships, as well as a crowdfund campaign themed 3 Cheers for 30 Years! through which P.S. ARTS will be raising $30,000 in 30 days for public schools, which will be generously matched by Laura Fox and Ben Van de Bunt.

Why was P.S. ARTS started 30 years ago? Dr. Paul Cummins founded P.S. ARTS in 1991 with seed funding from musician and philanthropist, Herb Alpert. They recognized that a steady decline in funding since the late 1970s had produced massive resource inequities in California public schools, and arts programs were virtually nonexistent in the schools serving the highest numbers of youth affected by poverty and systemic racism. Over the last 30 years, P.S. ARTS has grown from serving 285 students in one school to serving 25,000 students and 5,000 parents and community members in more than 50 schools. Watch the timeline video below to learn about our journey.


Help support the future of arts education in public schools through our latest crowdfund campaign. P.S. ARTS aims to raise $30,000 in 30 days in honor of our 30th anniversary. Donate today and double your impact thanks to a matching gift from Laura Fox and Ben Van de Bunt!




The P.S. ARTS website is getting a new look in time for its milestone anniversary! Visit our relaunched website on September 15 to access our programs and free art projects, as well as our first ever online store! With easier navigation and an array of P.S. ARTS merch including adult and children clothes, we welcome you to click and explore.


Thank you for supporting our arts education programs for the past three decades! We couldn’t be more grateful for our teachers, staff, donors, supporters, and extended communities for making it possible for us to provide arts education to our 25,000 students throughout California. Thank you for an incredible 30 years of creativity, growth, and service. We’re looking forward to many more!

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Gaby PalmadessaCelebrating 30 Years of P.S. ARTS!

Interning at P.S. ARTS Summer 2021

on August 19, 2021

This week is our Getty Intern Chaya Borison’s last week at P.S. ARTS. While we are sad to see her go, we are grateful for all her work over the past couple of months. Chaya shared her experiences and projects with us, which you can read below.

“Spending the last ten weeks interning at P.S. ARTS through the Getty Marrow Program has been an amazing experience. During the course of my internship I have been able to create P.S. ARTS To Go! projects, test out new projects during meetings, create a museum resource guide, and get to know the awesome staff here at P.S. ARTS. 

A sample P.S. ARTS To Go! project Chaya created, inspired by the work of Erick Martinez.

While creating To Go! projects I was able to research and find artists local to Los Angeles. I contacted them directly to learn more about their art, then I created visual arts activities using simple found materials so that anyone could make them from home. During special weekly staff meetings, we call P.S. ARTS ArtLabs, the whole staff dedicated time to test out these projects. It was really fun to be able to spend time getting to know the staff, getting feedback on the projects, and creating art as a team. 

During my internship, I also created a museum resource guide. I love going to museums and loved working on this project to show others what Southern California has to offer. This guide has information about six museums and activities kids can easily do while at each one. I was able to directly contact staff from various institutions to learn more about the museums and public programs that they offer. The guide will be posted on the P.S. ARTS website soon, and will be available for anyone to download. My goal for the guide is to make going to museums a little less intimidating and create a love for museum-going for those that utilize it. 

Even though my internship was remote, I was still very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet virtually with the P.S. ARTS staff individually to learn more about their careers in the arts. I learned so much not only about their jobs, but also through getting to know everyone as individuals. The staff was always so supportive and reinstalled confidence in me as I enter the next journey of my career. I have been so lucky to be able to work with such amazing people. Thank you for having me this summer P.S. ARTS!”

Thank you for working with us this summer, Chaya! We look forward to seeing where your journey leads you! To learn more about past internships P.S. ARTS has had click here.

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Gaby PalmadessaInterning at P.S. ARTS Summer 2021

Weaving the Threads, Reconnecting Our Stories

on August 12, 2021

Every summer, P.S. ARTS Teaching Artists and staff brainstorm a new theme for the upcoming school year which is used as a guide for classroom curriculum and activities. The 2021-22 school year’s theme is Weaving the Threads, Reconnecting Our Stories. Sound familiar? That’s because this theme is a spinoff of last year’s theme (Weaving the Threads, Connecting Our Stories) to bring previously discussed concepts back into the forefront as students and teachers reconnect in schools and classrooms.

Although the titles are similar, this year’s theme presents a whole new slate of amazing artists to study. Each artist represents a different discipline that we teach at P.S. ARTS. Highlighting an array of disciplines and backgrounds, these Anchorworks, as we call them, stand as guiding artworks for lessons in dance, music, theater, and visual arts classes. With a focus on reconnection in 2021-2022, we look ahead to in-person classes and explore the ways in which P.S. ARTS programs can facilitate students’ learning and wellbeing as school communities come back together. After a year of distance learning and physical disconnect, we are excited to reconnect through creativity, learning, self-expression, and storytelling! P.S. ARTS faculty and staff are excited to announce the following artists and their Anchorworks for this year:


Full Still Hungry by CONTRA TIEMPO

CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater is a Los Angeles-based dance theater company dedicated to building community and creating dances that move audiences to stand against injustice. It exemplifies artists weaving together stories to connect people and spark collective action. For more than 16 years, the CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater has developed a “physical vocabulary” that combines Salsa, Afro-Cuban, Hip-Hop, and contemporary dance with theater, text, and original music. The dance Full Still Hungry work is built around themes related to feeding the body and soul, family and community connection, honoring cultural traditions, and food justice. The web – or woven threads – include the stories and lived experiences of CONTRA-TIEMPO company members around food, family, dependence and interdependence, and other forms of sustenance.

Work Cited

“Full Still Hungry – GET A TASTE” Excerpt of performance by CONTRA-TIEMPO, Vimeo, CONTRA-TIEMPO, 2012, https://vimeo.com/34415334.


Missing You by The Linda Lindas

The Linda Lindas – Mila (10), Eloise (13), Lucia (14), and Bela (16) – are a half-Asian, half-Latinx punk rock band from Los Angeles. They began playing their instruments with little musical experience in January of 2018, and by that summer they were an official garage punk band writing and performing original songs. Veteran musicians credit their popularity to their honest lyrics, raw emotion, and passionate performances that represent the voices of young people living through a global pandemic and social upheaval. “Missing You” was written by Eloise Wong during the COVID-19 pandemic when she, like many across the world, was homebound due to social distancing measures. She laments about trying to connect with friends through the internet and, finding it lacking, dwells on all the things she misses about pre-pandemic life. The wistful lyrics juxtaposed with Eloise’s singing in the assertive, clipped and angry style that defines punk conveys the underlying emotions that the children of the pandemic share: anger, longing, sadness, and hope.

Work Cited

“Missing You” Performance by The Linda Lindas, YouTube, 17 Dec. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a59Ur7DsovQ.


The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman (for grades 3-8) and Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth (for grades K-2) 

Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Amanda Gorman began writing at a young age while she attended the New Roads School founded by P.S. ARTS founder, Dr. Paul Cummins. She began writing “The Hill We Climb” in response to the violent attack on the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021, during which a mob of armed rioters attempted to disrupt the democratic confirmation of Joe Biden to the Office of President, and she went on to read the finished poem at President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021 as a call for collective healing and resilience. 

Jon J. Muth is a comic book artist and children’s book illustrator most known for his beloved Zen series. His mother was an art teacher and she took him to museums all over the U.S. and he went on to have his first one-man exhibit of paintings and drawings when he was just eighteen. Muth studied stone sculpture in Japan, and has received critical acclaim and numerous awards for his work. Although the original tale of Stone Soup has roots in Europe, Muth’s retelling sets the story in China, using Buddhist story traditions. Three Ch’an (Zen) monks named Hok, Lok, and Siew, based on characters prominent in Chinese folklore, come upon a village where people are weary, suspicious, and unhappy, and work only for themselves. To help the villagers find happiness, the monks decide to show them how to make stone soup. By the end of the story, the villagers have come together in a feast, celebrating their community, and the things that make us all truly rich.

Works Cited

“American poet Amanda Gorman reads a poem during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.” ASSOCIATED PRESS https://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/amanda-gorman-super-bowl-performance-1234717273/.

“Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth” Performed by Amy Parcels, YouTube, 9 July 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4BrVafRKXI.

Visual Arts

Untitled, Broken Pots Series by El Anatsui

El Anatsui is a Ghanaian sculptor, member of the Ewe Nation, and son of a master kente cloth weaver. He is a professor of sculpture at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and is among the foremost contemporary artists in the world often using discarded materials in his work, including broken pottery, bottle caps, and kitchen appliances. He often refers to the role of visual symbols and language in his art, noting his first experience with art was through drawing letters on a chalkboard. As a college student, Anatsui researched traditional Ghanaian art, such as the graphic symbols in adinkra cloth. 

His sculptures are not about shaping mass, as an artist would with clay, but the process of organizing disjointed fragments into interrelated lines, shapes, and patterns. This organized fragmentation style is a hallmark of Anatsui’s work and the major theme of his 1977-1981 Broken Pots series. The Broken Pots series marks Anatsui’s early experiments with using many parts to create a whole with the intention of providing new context or meaning to the broken pieces.

Work Cited

Images sourced from El Anatsui’s website https://elanatsui.art/.

Read more about our themes from previous years:

2020-21: Weaving the Thread, Connecting Our Stories
2019-20: Windows and Mirrors
2018-19: The Light of Discovery
2015-16: All the Colors I Am Inside!
2014-15: Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers
2013-14: Exploring Our Dreams, Expanding Our Universe

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Gaby PalmadessaWeaving the Threads, Reconnecting Our Stories

Celebrating 17 years of June Edmonds with P.S. ARTS

on August 5, 2021

In celebration of 17 years of service as a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist and coach, we want to introduce you to June Edmonds.

June began teaching Visual Arts to students in the Lawndale Elementary School District in 2004.  Her talent for crafting curriculum and exposing students to a diverse cadre of art and artists is reflected in the overwhelming praise she receives from school administrators, classroom teachers, parents, and the young artists she inspires. As one teacher at William Anderson Elementary noted, “She ignites [students’] passion and curiosity in the arts.”

In addition to her tenure as a Teaching Artist and Arts Integration Coach, June is an award-winning painter whose work has been featured in galleries, museums, and public spaces throughout the United States.

She is stepping away from the classroom this year to focus on exciting opportunities, including her latest project: a three-story mural in La Jolla titled “Ebony on Draper and Girard.”  We want to send a big congratulations to June and thank her for 17 inspiring years.  To learn more about June and her upcoming projects, you can visit her website.


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Gaby PalmadessaCelebrating 17 years of June Edmonds with P.S. ARTS

September 2021 | Arts Ed RECAP

on August 5, 2021

Arts Education RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for September 2021.


COVID Policy Briefing “A weekly update on schools, public health and the pandemic, vetted by John Bailey” The 74

Chaos Theory: Amid Pandemic Recovery Efforts, School Leaders Fear Critical Race Furor Will ‘Paralyze’ Teachers “‘I told them, ‘I’m only trying to expose your child to different cultures and experiences … These conversations are going to help them when they get into the real world because they are going to meet people who are different from them.'” The 74

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Gaby PalmadessaSeptember 2021 | Arts Ed RECAP

August 2021 | Arts Ed RECAP

on August 5, 2021

Arts Education RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for August 2021.


The Benefits of the Arts: ArtsEdSearch has six new research articles that studied different ways the arts benefit people. Arts Education Partnerhip

New Study: Did Online School Drive Down Cyberbullying? When the pandemic first struck, many child well-being advocates worried that the massive shift to remote school would spur an uptick in a troubling behavior: online bullying. According to new research from Boston University, however, virtual learning may have had precisely the opposite effect.” The 74

More California Schools Adding Yoga to School Day “California is urging schools to enhance their student wellness offerings as campuses reopen, and yoga is a popular option in many districts because it merges physical and mental health and is relatively easy to implement.” EdSource

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Gaby PalmadessaAugust 2021 | Arts Ed RECAP

P.S. ARTS Expands to Provide LAUSD Summer Programming

on August 5, 2021

P.S. ARTS is excited to be offering summer programming in 29 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools this summer! Eleven Teaching Artists are guiding close to 500 K-8th grade students across Los Angeles with in-person classes include dance, theater, and visual arts. Our summer programs are designed to prepare students to re-engage and connect to their schools and classmates before the 2021-22 school year. We are excited about this opportunity and proud to be helping so many students learn and reconnect through the arts!

For more updates on the latest P.S. ARTS news follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter.

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P.S. ARTSP.S. ARTS Expands to Provide LAUSD Summer Programming

P.S. ARTS Partners with Immersive Van Gogh

on July 27, 2021


P.S. ARTS is excited to be partnering with Immersive Van Gogh to connect students and their families to the work of Vincent Van Gogh through a one-of-a-kind viewing experience. The Los Angeles exhibition is staged in the former Amoeba Music building which has been transformed into an unforgettable installation where the portraits and still life paintings of Vincent van Gogh come to life around viewers!

P.S. ARTS will be offering complimentary tickets to P.S. ARTS students and families, which will provide access to the exhibition and exposure to the arts in a fresh and exciting way. In addition, P.S. ARTS is curating Van Gogh-inspired art kits for the Immersive Van Gogh gift store that visitors can purchase to create works inspired by the iconic artist to share memories of their experiences of the exhibition at home. 100% of proceeds from each kit purchased will directly support P.S. ARTS programs in local public schools!

To find out more about the exhibition, please visit https://www.vangoghla.com/.

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P.S. ARTSP.S. ARTS Partners with Immersive Van Gogh

CEO Kristen Paglia Interview on Nonprofit on the Rocks!

on July 22, 2021


P.S. ARTS CEO Kristen Paglia was recently on Nonprofit on the Rocks, a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the organizations and gets real with the people who make them possible. Listen to her interview linked below to learn more about Kristi’s path to P.S. ARTS and why she believes that the arts are a vital part of education!

“Creativity, autonomy, identity, compassion, empathy … I think that is starting to dawn on people. That there is actually nothing more important than being human, and humble, and accepting that there’s a lot of information, and knowledge, and wisdom, and secrets out there that we do not know and we cannot know unless we work, unless we connect as a collective.”

You can also listen to the full podcast here.

To learn more about what we do at P.S. ARTS click here.

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P.S. ARTSCEO Kristen Paglia Interview on Nonprofit on the Rocks!

July 2021 | Arts Ed RECAP

on June 30, 2021

Arts Education RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for July 2021.


Why Ages 2-7 Matter So Much for Brain Development “Children’s brains develop in spurts called critical periods. The first occurs around age 2, with a second one occurring during adolescence. At the start of these periods, the number of connections (synapses) between brain cells (neurons) doubles. Two-year-olds have twice as many synapses as adults. Because these connections between brain cells are where learning occurs, twice as many synapses enable the brain to learn faster than at any other time of life. Therefore, children’s experiences in this phase have lasting effects on their development.” Edutopia

California Arts Council Issues New Arts in Corrections Report “The California Arts Council released today the findings of a needs assessment and process and impact evaluation of the state agency’s Arts in Corrections program. The report, Flowers Grown in Concrete: Exploring the Healing Power of the Arts for People Experiencing Incarceration—demonstrates three major findings for California’s prison-based arts programming and instruction, with the objective of enhancing and expanding student-centered rehabilitation and reintegration efforts in the future” California Arts Council

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Gaby PalmadessaJuly 2021 | Arts Ed RECAP