#WhyIGive | Lilia Hall

on December 14, 2020

Lilia Hall is an educator and P.S. ARTS supporter who has volunteered at Family Art Nights and other P.S. ARTS events. Here she is telling us more about how and why she supports P.S. ARTS and advocates for arts education.

All student art is important and you should always be proud of your final product whether it is singing, acting, dancing or the visual arts.

1. Why do you support P.S. ARTS?
Being a retired first grade teacher, I realize how important the arts are to a student’s total development. Working with students who ordinarily don’t have the opportunity to have the arts presented as part of their curriculum is so important. I had the opportunity to work as a volunteer at a P.S. ARTS family night at our local elementary school and saw P.S. ARTS teachers in action. The attendance that night was overwhelming and the art project was so well received by all the families. Reaching out to the families at a night event is also a valuable part of the P.S. ARTS program besides the in-school presentations.

2. Do you have any specific memories of the arts or an arts teacher that impacted your life?
I was fortunate enough during my teaching career to be able to include the arts as part of the curriculum. We sang, danced, and worked on a variety of art projects using different media. I taught first grade and worked with talented students who aspired to be artists. Some did and I would like to think I inspired them a little.

3. If you could give our P.S. ARTS students one piece of advice, what would it be?

All student art is important and you should always be proud of your final product whether it is singing, acting, dancing, or the visual arts.

Thank you, Lilia Hall

Consider supporting P.S. ARTS like Lilia Hall before the end of the year to help ensure our students have access to arts education. Make a gift today.

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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Lilia Hall

#WhyIGive | Adam Davis

on June 28, 2018

by Adam Davis, Volunteer Photographer

I want to avidly support an organization that gives opportunities to children to cultivate creativity in the best way possible.

Why do you support P.S. ARTS?
I support P.S. ARTS because art is something that changed my life for the better. I was put in place to be creative from a very young age with music. I wasn’t taught much, but I was given the freedom to discover my own tastes and creative methods on my own. I want to avidly support an organization that gives opportunities to children to cultivate creativity in the best way possible.

Do you have any specific memories of the arts or an arts teacher that impacted your life?
I vividly remember the day that I discovered how broad photography was with the use of Instagram. I hadn’t seen many “artistic” photographs up until that point and that one day opened my eyes to the possibilities of how far I could possibly take this art form. Each time I make photographs each experience impacts me in different, extremely important ways.

Tell us a little about the fundraiser you launched? What was your motivation?
The fundraiser’s purpose was to give children of color an opportunity to watch this record-breaking movie with an outstanding cast. The fact that the movie was Black and each character held a heroic position may seem minor to some, but to a Black man like myself and to millions of other people of color, this film is something special. Black Panther is a look into the future of film and modern society and provides hope to people like me who struggle to understand their full potential as a people. My motivation will always be to either create stories like these on my own or provide a platform for as many people as possible to see the stories like this that already exist.

Students at Whaley say thank you to Adam Davis

If you could give our P.S. ARTS students one piece of advice, what would it be?
One piece of advice I would give to the students is that once you enter a creative space or any space for that matter, your natural progression as a creative or as a human being is not a race. It is a marathon, with many different stages that all have significant meaning for each individual person. Do not compare yourself to others because at the end of the marathon of life, you’ll end up being a winner.


Thank you to Adam for making this incredible opportunity available to our students!

Consider supporting P.S. ARTS before July 1 to help ensure our students have access to the high-quality arts education that has impacted amazing people like Adam Davis. Make a gift today.

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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Adam Davis

#WhyIGive | Irene Neuwirth

on December 21, 2017

by Clarissa Rice, Events Coordinator

Every year, we have the incredible opportunity to partner with so many accomplished artists in our programs and during our events. This year, we were thrilled when Irene Neuwirth signed on to join us at Express Yourself. Irene is a brilliant jewelry designer, creating one-of-a-kind pieces, and has launched her best-selling line into a full brand. She is also a great advocate for arts education. I caught up with Irene to hear why she believes in the power of arts education.

Create art with no boundaries and rules. Just make what feels good to you! That’s what the world needs.

Why do you support P.S. ARTS?

Because I personally believe that nothing is more important than the opportunity to be creative.

 

Do you have any specific memories of the arts or an arts teacher that impacted your life?

My mom is a painter and every restaurant or outing I went to as a child I carried my box of colored pencils and paper. I was never without them!

If you could give our P.S. ARTS students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Create art with no boundaries and rules. Just make what feels good to you! That’s what the world needs.

Thank you, Irene!

THIS POST IS IN SUPPORT OF THE P.S. ARTS YEAR-END GIVING CAMPAIGN. WE ARE ON A MISSION TO MAKE ART POSSIBLE FOR 150 STUDENTS FOR A FULL SCHOOL YEAR. CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION TODAY. PSARTS.ORG/DONATE
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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Irene Neuwirth

#WhyIGive | Jango Sircus

on December 14, 2017

by Jango Sircus, P.S. ARTS Board member

The arts are such an integral part of a child’s life — transformative, therapeutic, and joyful. I believe that they are an under-appreciated cornerstone of a complete education. On a practical level, the arts keep kids in school while letting them work through issues in a very real way that research has shown keeps kids off the streets and creates productive citizens. But it goes much deeper than that. The arts are active, not passive, and they push a child’s brain into creative and lateral thinking, which leads to improved performance in all other academic subjects. There is no better organization so well suited to deliver on this promise than P.S. ARTS.

The arts are such an integral part of a child’s life — transformative, therapeutic, and joyful.

The arts have impacted my life in ways that are hard to express. There’s something so visceral and connective about creating something from nothing.  A spark of inspiration fueled by imagination burns bright and everlasting. I’m an accountant, not an artist; I love math and numbers. However, my most vivid and tangible memories growing up often involve the arts. Why do I keep an old wooden camel I built in third grade? Or a piece of chipped pottery I made in seventh grade? Why do I smile every time I hear a song from a musical I performed in? I didn’t have to choose the arts as a profession to understand the importance they have in the very fabric of our education and memories. I can only hope that every child has the same opportunities as I did to find their own personal joy through the arts.

I didn’t have to choose the arts as a profession to understand the importance they have in the very fabric of our education and memories.

If I had one piece of advice to pay forward to our P.S. ARTS students, it would be to always act on that inspiration, no matter how fleeting, to embrace your imagination, no matter how elusive it may seem, and to let art guide you in whatever endeavors lay before you.  It will make you stronger, happier, and inspire you to think outside the box for the rest of your life.

This Post is in support of the P.S. ARTS Year End Giving Campaign. We are on a mission to make art possible for 150 students for a full school year. Consider making a donation today. psarts.org/donate
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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Jango Sircus

#WhyIGive | Dr. Ellen Dougherty

on November 28, 2017

by Dr. Ellen Dougherty

While I was the superintendent of the Lawndale School District, one of my favorite things to do was to visit P.S. ARTS classrooms.

I have always felt that involvement with the arts is a critical component in a student’s education. Research has established that integrating the arts into core instruction helps students obtain not only a deeper understanding of the content matter but assists in engaging students in their learning. The Common Core focuses on creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, which is imperative for 21st-century learning. Arts integration into the content area touches all four of these important components.  

Arts education provides an opportunity for English learners to become more connected to the subject matter and increase their use and understanding of the English language. Integrating arts curriculum into the science standards further strengthens student understanding and engagement. Many times, it also provides students with the technical skills they need to be college and career ready.

#WhyIGive | Dr. Ellen Dougherty

The students were happy and always actively engaged in their learning; talking, sharing, and collaborating.

While I was the superintendent of the Lawndale School District, one of my favorite things to do was to visit P.S. ARTS classrooms. The teaching artists, with their authentic expertise in the subject areas, provided a passion for their content area that generated excitement throughout the lessons. The students were happy and always actively engaged in their learning; talking, sharing, and collaborating. Classroom teachers also attended the classes, observing and helping students, providing skills the teachers could transfer to their own daily teaching.

I knew the students only had those opportunities due to our amazing partnership with P.S. ARTS.

Public education has cut most funding dedicated to arts education. Therefore, providing arts education to students in low economic areas is extremely important. The school day is the only time that many of these students will be exposed to the arts, giving them a reason to be engaged in their learning and, for some students, to attend school at all. For the nine years I was in the Lawndale Elementary School District, as I observed their weekly lessons in the arts, I knew the students only had those opportunities due to our amazing partnership with P.S. ARTS. Now in my retirement, seeing the importance of this partnership, I plan to volunteer my time to help continue the fantastic work of P.S. ARTS.

All photos are from the Family Art Night held at Mark Twain Elementary in the Lawndale School District.

This post is coming to you on Giving Tuesday, consider supporting P.S. ARTS by donating through our Facebook page and unlock the matching gift provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. psarts.org/facebook
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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Dr. Ellen Dougherty

#WhyIGive | Annie Bishop

on November 18, 2015

This ‪#‎WhyIGive‬ Wednesday, third-grade teacher and P.S. ARTS supporter Annie Bishop shares why she invested in the future of public school arts education with a gift to the P.S. ARTS Endowment.

A message from Annie Bishop . . .

As a public school teacher, there is a lot of pressure to implement district initiatives and programs. Though these mandates are well-intentioned, they require us, the teachers, to spread ourselves thin. The time that could be spent planning great lessons for our students is often spent filling out paperwork and attending meetings or trainings. Many of these new district initiatives are aimed at getting students to think critically and creatively or teaching students about empathy and compassion — all of which can be developed through the artistic process — yet few, if any, of these programs, integrate the arts. If it were up to the teachers, I can guarantee that we would fill our students’ days with creativity and that the arts would be an irreplaceable part of every day. Unfortunately, this creative aspect of teaching and learning is too often disappearing from the profession.

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I give to P.S. ARTS because I truly believe in the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Though we can survive on only a granola bar for lunch and can make it from the morning bell to lunchtime without a restroom break, teachers are not super-humans. Though we sometimes pretend we do, we do not have superpowers, and we can’t do everything. I think trying to is actually detrimental to our students. No one likes a tired, grumpy teacher!

The solution is to embrace the “village” resources that are available to us. P.S. ARTS and its amazingly talented Teaching Artists is a perfect model for how we can truly provide our students with the best well-rounded education possible. Instead of overextending classroom teachers and neglecting students’ needs for a creative outlet, why not share the responsibility and rely on community partners for support? This is exactly what P.S. ARTS enables schools and teachers to do. P.S. ARTS contributes to a cycle of improving not only the well-being of the students, but of the community. Students develop creatively, professional artists share their passions, community and school partnerships continue to grow, and our village is uplifted.

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I will end with a quote from one of my favorite artists:

“Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
— Pablo Picasso

I think I speak for all teachers when I say that I don’t want to be responsible for diminishing the creative spirit in my students, but rather for nourishing it. Unfortunately, the current system doesn’t always allow for creative growth. Thanks to P.S. ARTS, classroom teachers and Teaching Artists are able to work together to create more meaningful educational experiences for all learners.

Thank you P.S. ARTS!

#InvestInInnovation at psarts.org/endowment

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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Annie Bishop

#WhyIGive | Megan Strawther

on November 4, 2015

This #WhyIGive Wednesday, P.S. ARTS supporter (and former Development & Communications Associate) Megan Strawther shares why she invested in the future of public school arts education with a gift to the P.S. ARTS Endowment.

A message from Megan Strawther . . .

January 3rd, 2011, was my very first day as the Advancement & Operations Assistant at P.S. ARTS. It was my first “big girl” job out of college, and I was both nervous and thrilled to be joining a team of people that worked hard to level the playing field and create opportunities for children in California’s underserved public schools. Education had played such a pivotal role in my life, and I was honored to be working for a nonprofit like P.S. ARTS that sought to make educational experiences more engaging and equitable for everyone.

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For nearly four years, I got to see our programs in action. I saw kids express themselves through beautiful art projects, I saw Teaching Artists inspire their students to achieve more, and I saw parents beam with pride because their child had garnered the confidence to perform a musical number in front of a packed auditorium. More than that, I got to see all of the extraordinary work happening behind the scenes to ensure that these children, schools, and communities received the arts education and cultural experiences they deserved. From managing various stakeholders that were integral to our organization’s success and coordinating fundraising events to support our services to fostering an office culture where our staff was encouraged to learn and grow together, it was always the operations of P.S. ARTS that impressed me most. It was here that I learned how important it is to have a strong organizational infrastructure – both in terms of processes set in place and having an army of dedicated individuals passionate about the cause – in order to have the greatest impact on those you serve.

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My work at P.S. ARTS is what inspired me to pursue my current studies in social entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business. My time working in administration, fundraising, and marketing at P.S. ARTS has given me a solid foundation from which to understand how institutions can be most effective. Not only is P.S. ARTS an exemplar model for arts education, it is also an exemplar model for how to run a nonprofit organization that provides crucial services in the community. I would not be where I am today, and motivated by the possibility of what we can accomplish together, were it not for this organization.

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This is #WhyIGive to P.S. ARTS. I am confident that my investment will support the long-term growth of this organization and that my donation will have a lasting impact on the 25,000 children it provides arts education to every single day. I am so proud to have called P.S. ARTS my home for so many years, and I am grateful that organizations like P.S. ARTS exist to lend hope and opportunities to our next generation of changemakers.

#InvestInInnovation at psarts.org/endowment

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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Megan Strawther

#WhyIGive | Christina Taylor

on October 21, 2015

This #WhyIGive Wednesday, P.S. ARTS supporter (and mother of our very own Communications Associate Jacob Campbell) Christina Taylor shares why she invested in the future of public school arts education with a gift to the P.S. ARTS Endowment.

A message from Christina M. Taylor . . .

I chose to support the P.S. ARTS Endowment because I believe that arts programs are an essential part of public education as they help all kids, especially those who might not fit the typical mold, find their niche. Having raised two very different sons — one involved in the performing arts and the other in baseball, basketball, and football — I was thankful that our school district offered diverse programming to meet the needs of each of my kids. I’ve been fortunate to see how access to arts education has influenced my son Jacob and helped him to become successful in his college and career endeavours.

Participating in the #2xTUES social media campaign made it so easy to donate, and I won a super cool prize of tickets to P.S. ARTS’ Taste of Venice event. It was such a fun, delicious day filled with awesome food and music, and I loved connecting with the community that ensures the future and sustainability of P.S. ARTS’ programs.

Please consider supporting the P.S. ARTS Endowment and opening up opportunities for all children to find their niche in this world!

#InvestInInnovation at psarts.org/endowment

 

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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Christina Taylor

#WhyIGive | Lauren Deck

on September 30, 2015

This #WhyIGive Wednesday, P.S. ARTS supporter (and former Senior Program Manager) Lauren Deck shares why she invested in the future of public school arts education with a gift to the P.S. ARTS Endowment.

A message from Lauren Deck . . .

Supporting arts education is important to me because of the personal positive impact I’ve experienced as a result of many visual arts, theater, and dance projects and classes. During more than a decade of working in the arts education field, I have spent many hours witnessing the power of the arts in the lives of those around me — especially children and youth. For this reason, P.S. ARTS’ mission will always be close to my heart.

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I joined the P.S. ARTS administrative staff in 2014 during the pivotal program acquisition of Inside Out Community Arts, where I had worked on the program administration team since 2008. After my time working as a Senior Program Manager for P.S. ARTS, I know firsthand that a little bit goes a long way to impact thousands of students thanks to a dedicated and hardworking team of experts and leaders.

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When giving to the P.S. ARTS Endowment this year, I kept a story in mind about a young donor who also extended a monetary gift to the organization. Last school year, a P.S. ARTS student presented a Teaching Artist with a jar filled with coins to help support the program’s costs. The gesture was big for a young person, and it made an even bigger impact on me and my colleagues. It reminded me that we all have something to give to what is important and impactful in our lives. With this in mind, I made sure to find my own means to contribute to the P.S. ARTS Endowment.

Thank you P.S. ARTS – keep up the inspiring work!

#InvestInInnovation at psarts.org/endowment

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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Lauren Deck

#WhyIGive | Heather & Ben Arnold

on September 16, 2015

On our first #WhyIGive Wednesday, longtime P.S. ARTS supporter (and former staff member) Heather Myrick Arnold shares why she and her husband, Ben, invested in the future of public school arts education with a gift to the P.S. ARTS Endowment.

A message from Heather Myrick Arnold . . .

I started working for P.S. ARTS as an intern in 2005, and I stayed with P.S. ARTS for two years in the Development Office before becoming a high school dance teacher. During my tenure as P.S. ARTS’ Events Manager, my husband Ben graciously volunteered at events and helped the way all significant others of non-profit professionals do — however he was “VolunTOLD” to. Of course, he was happy to serve the mission of P.S. ARTS however he could!

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My connection to P.S. ARTS’ mission was not only forged by my work with the organization, but by my passion for dance as well. Dance was something that I grew up doing, and I was lucky enough to have a thriving dance program at my high school. The dance program not only gave me technical training, but also creative experiences and a place to belong in high school. As a dancer, I know first-hand the value of an arts education, and as an educator, I have the privilege of experiencing the profound impact it has on students’ lives each and every day.

In 2011, I took a sabbatical from teaching to go back to graduate school and work at P.S. ARTS once again. It was such a gift to be able to work with the P.S. ARTS staff again! During this time, Ben continued to volunteer at events, but also got his company, Giant Media, involved with supporting P.S. ARTS by forming a team to complete the LA Big 5k on the organization’s behalf.

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As my second time working at the P.S. ARTS office came to a close and I was ready to return to my dance classroom, Ben and I felt it would be meaningful to donate to the P.S. ARTS Endowment as a gesture of gratitude to P.S. ARTS for providing me with (multiple) career opportunities, for providing Ben with a way of building team moral and purpose in his office, and for advancing P.S. ARTS’ mission to provide a comprehensive arts education to students in California’s most underserved schools. We wanted to give a sustainable gift to an organization that is doing such important work. Arts education is not a luxury; it is essential.

We look forward to continuing to support P.S. ARTS!

#InvestInInnovation at psarts.org/endowment

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P.S. ARTS#WhyIGive | Heather & Ben Arnold