P.S. ARTS Spring Auction

on May 3, 2021

P.S. ARTS is hosting a virtual art auction to help raise funds for our programs! Visit our page on Artsy from May 6 – 20, 2021 to bid on artwork by the following artists.

P.S. ARTS Spring Auction Artists

Tofer Chin
Patrick Martinez
Jason McLean
Carter Mull
Umar Rashid
Ed Ruscha
Kenny Scharf
Gregory Siff
Cole Sternberg
Kehinde Wiley
Dustin Yellin

Serving children and families in Southern California for 35 years, P.S. ARTS contributes to building creative, civically and economically robust public schools and neighborhoods through the arts. More than 25,000 youth and adults participate in free and subsidized P.S. ARTS programs that foster collaboration, critical thinking, innovation, and wellbeing every year. We couldn’t do this work without your support! 

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P.S. ARTSP.S. ARTS Spring Auction

We Are / Estamos

on April 4, 2021

In honor of National Poetry Month, we are sharing a poem that P.S. ARTS Trustees contributed to collectively during our Board Retreat in January 2021. The poem was a result of a new poetry workshop created by Lui Sanchez, Director of Extended Learning, that staff and Trustees were able to pilot. P.S. ARTS’ Family Art Nights are fun artist-led events, which reflect our unifying theme for the school year. This year, our theme is “Weaving The Threads, Connecting Our Stories.” Our  Family Art Night “I Am Poetry” event provides students, teachers, and parents a unique way to come together, express themselves, and share their stories. The workshop also encourages a creative exploration of one’s character and how they see the world.

We Are
We are a community
We are essential
We wonder what is possible
We hear children singing
We see talent everywhere
We want to reach out to those who need us most
We are all artists



Somos una comunidad
Somos esenciales
Nos preguntamos que es posible
Escuchamos a los niños cantando
Vemos talento en todas partes
Queremos alcanzar a quienes más nos necesitan
Todos somos artistas

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P.S. ARTSWe Are / Estamos

Inside Out Community Arts at Loma Alta

on April 4, 2021

Inside Out Community Arts (IOCA), an Extended Learning program of P.S. ARTS, is now working with Loma Alta Park in Altadena, serving youth ages 12 – 18. The program is currently featured on the Loma Alta InstagramLive @ourspotlomaalta. IOCA focuses on empowering underserved middle school youth with the tools, confidence, and inspiration to make a positive difference in their lives and their communities through the arts. Below is an update from Francisco Uribe, Inside Out Community Arts Program Assistant, on what’s been going with Loma Alta.

Recently at Loma Alta, the Teaching Artists Goreti, Tyee, and Aubrey showed how to bring a character’s physicality to life, using only your voice and props that are around the house. In an articulation exercise, Tyee showed how to beatbox. He started off by saying the phrase, “Baby Ketchup and Buttercup,” and then he made everyone else repeat the phrase but without pronouncing any of the vowels. To demonstrate the structure of a story, the Teaching Artists brought to life the story of Goldilocks, where Monique from Loma Alta played the part of Goldilocks, and surprising us all, Tyee played the part of the porridge.

Thank you for the update, Francisco! Stay tuned for more news about IOCA and Loma Alta as programming continues.

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P.S. ARTSInside Out Community Arts at Loma Alta

Volunteer Highlight: Mary-Kate Schellhardt

on March 31, 2021

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, we are highlighting our Guest Artist, Mary-Kate Schellhardt, for her work with P.S. ARTS. Below is an update from our Volunteer Coordinator, Joella Still, including a conversation with Mary-Kate about why she loves volunteering for P.S. ARTS.

This year has been an interesting one to say the least, and with help from our dedicated volunteers, we were able to pivot quickly, while keeping the quality and integrity of our programming intact. Being forced to move to virtual programming, has allowed for some experimentation of various program models that we hadn’t previously explored.

One of these experiments was a new version of our Guest Artist series that took place once a month for four months, led by actress Mary-Kate Schellhardt. Starring in movies such as Free Willy and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape as a child, Mary-Kate was able to offer insight as a child actor and share her experience and expertise in the entertainment industry. Middle school students in our Inside Out Community Arts program were actively engaged in these workshops which covered voiceovers, preparation for auditions, and character development.

Students were able to ask questions about her personal experiences and any applicable skills and tools that they could start utilizing at their current ages, as well as get hands-on experience with the audition process, and techniques actors use to prepare for their roles.

When asked why she wanted to volunteer with P.S. ARTS she responded, “Jaime Reichner introduced me to Joella Still and ever since I’ve had an amazing time volunteering at P.S. ARTS. Everyone from Lui Sanchez to the teachers and students in the workshops were creative and kind. I wanted to volunteer because I love theatre and grew up in classes where I was taught by artists. It’s been a dream to now be creating workshops about the profession I chose.”

The hours Mary-Kate spent preparing the workshops each month are truly a testament to her dedication to our students. She showed up for each and every meeting, and really committed to our students. As a result, our Program Director, Lui Sanchez, has decided to replicate this program.

We at P.S. ARTS want to thank Mary-Kate for all of the time she devoted to collaborating with us to make this program successful!

An additional shout out to everyone who has helped us during this pandemic. So many volunteers have stepped up in various ways from helping us edit videos for our programs and helping older volunteers with Zoom technology, to putting together art kits for our students. We truly could not have done this without the efforts of our volunteers and we are so thankful to have you all be a part of the P.S. ARTS family!

To volunteer with P.S. ARTS  fill out this application.
For questions, email Joella at volunteers@psarts.org.

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P.S. ARTSVolunteer Highlight: Mary-Kate Schellhardt

Thank You, Volunteers!

on March 31, 2021

Volunteer Appreciation Month is here and we are so grateful for our volunteers! Volunteering provides essential help to organizations like P.S. ARTS while connecting volunteers to worthwhile causes through their extended communities. Below is information about events P.S. ARTS is hosting to celebrate our volunteers in the month of April.

P.S. ARTS Volunteer Appreciation Week Events:

The Studio – Open Class on Facebook Live – April 20, 2021
Volunteer Appreciation Happy Hour – April 22, 2021 – RSVP
VolunTEEN Night – April 23, 2021 – RSVP

To volunteer with P.S. ARTS  fill out this application.
For questions, email Joella at volunteers@psarts.org


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P.S. ARTSThank You, Volunteers!

Blooms, Birds, & Bugs To Go! Art Kit

on March 11, 2021

Spring Break to go kit

Buzz with creativity this spring break with the P.S. ARTS Spring Break To Go! Blooms, Birds, & Bugs art kit. Learn about nature while enjoying seven spring-themed art activities, a hardcover book, free shipping within Los Angeles County, and a Spotify playlist for you and your family to listen to while you create!

From birdhouses and gardening to candle-making and floral coasters, the Blooms, Birds & Bugs kit will keep your little ones exploring, learning, and creating for days. Be sure to check out the sibling add-on option for households with multiple little artists!

Each kit purchased provides fifteen P.S. ARTS students with the art supplies they need for an entire school year. See all the details and order yours at psarts.org/spring-break-to-go before they’re sold out!

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P.S. ARTSBlooms, Birds, & Bugs To Go! Art Kit

Hello, Ms. Johanna!

on March 9, 2021

Ms. Johanna McKay is a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist and currently teaches theater at Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica. We love her drama exercises and encourage everyone to try doing some of them for free from home with our P.S. ARTS To Go! series. We interviewed Ms. Johanna about her classes and inspirations and what she’s learned as a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist. Hear what she had to say!

Tell us about yourself and your art discipline.

I am Miss Johanna – drama teacher for P.S. ARTS since 2003. I have been making drama videos since the stay-at-home learning has begun and am currently teaching drama live on zoom to third through fifth graders at Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica. It’s been like a breath of fresh air to see young faces again with their enthusiasm, talent, and mind-blowing imaginations. 

What does your current teaching setup look like? What are some tools that are essential to your virtual classroom these days?

My teaching set-up is a computer to my left (on my desk), and a borrowed tv monitor on my right where I can see the students’ faces quite a bit larger than on the computer screen. I keep iTunes on the computer screen and a copy of the script so I can easily access it without moving the students’ faces around. I have a lamp and a small ring light in front of me and a fun background of theatrical books, puppets, and dolls. I make sure to shut the blinds so the lighting is as good as possible, not blinding the students. I have my green screen handy for filming videos as needed, with excellent lights and a microphone.

“I am inspired by people like our classroom teachers who are finding ways to make online learning fun!”

Share a “magic moment” you experienced teaching in the last year (an inspirational experience as a teacher or with a student).

A magical experience for me was this past spring when I collaborated with a classroom teacher at William Green Elementary in Lawndale, Mrs. Fusco. She was not going to let a pandemic keep her from engaging her students in a dramatic, theatrical experience! Together we worked to have the students submit video clips of themselves performing for a Zoom adaptation of “Alice Through the Looking-Glass.” By the time we had it all pulled together, we were able to have a movie screening of the production on zoom from our homes, and it felt just as exciting as any screening of a Hollywood film! Parents, grandparents, teachers, staff, and the principal were all in attendance – many zoom pages of people, all sitting together, dressed up, anxiously awaiting the final product. Heartfelt speeches were made and we began the show. Although there were some technical glitches, everyone was proud as punch and each family got a link to the film – which will be a keepsake for them forever. It was very exciting, but more than that, it filled us all with tremendous joy and exhilaration to see the students dressed in costumes, acting their hearts out, and singing and dancing to the beat! My hat is off to Mrs. Fusco for all the energy she poured into the project and all the parents who went to great lengths to film their children and send me the clips. It was thrilling!

Who is an artist you are currently inspired by?

I am inspired by people like our classroom teachers who are finding ways to make online learning fun! I am also grateful for groups that are finding ways to perform online and support charities for the arts like the Lockdown Theatre of England. My sister and I have enjoyed two marvelous online performances by Tim Crouch doing a one-man look at the character Cinna from “Julius Cesar,” and Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Inspector Hound” read by great actors like Emma Thompson and Derek Jacoby with a delightful talk-back afterward with the actors! It really lifted our spirits and made us realize how much we miss the wonders of live theater.

How has teaching for P.S. ARTS shaped your practice as a Teaching Artist?

Working for P.S. ARTS has given me, and all of us, a place where we truly live by our motto:  “We have the freedom to imagine and the power to create!” We’re given the support to help us grow as teaching artists, the freedom to meet the exciting challenge of creating new projects under a different theme every year, and the most amazing community of fellow teaching artists that inspire and bring fresh ideas to every gathering.

Thank you for sharing with us, Ms. Johanna! Watch Ms. Johanna in action in the theater exercises in the To Go! Projects on our website at psarts.org/to-go.

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P.S. ARTSHello, Ms. Johanna!

Women’s Rights at Lennox Middle School

on March 3, 2021

On Friday, February 12, students from Lennox Middle School presented a culminating performance featuring an original play about women’s rights through P.S. ARTS’ Inside Out Community Arts (IOCA) program. The inspirational performance included conversations between the students and their parents on the importance of women’s rights, as well as a slideshow of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide.

The Inside Out Community Arts program, which found a permanent home with P.S. ARTS in 2014, was founded in response to the civil uprisings ignited by the brutal attack against Rodney King at the hands of police thirty years ago. It is focused on empowering underserved middle school youth with the tools, confidence, and inspiration to make a positive difference in their lives and communities through the arts. Today, we acknowledge our enduring responsibility to pursue racial justice, as we launch a new season of IOCA programs providing youth development and social justice-oriented theatre education to future leaders across Los Angeles.

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P.S. ARTSWomen’s Rights at Lennox Middle School

Why does representation matter in the arts?

on February 22, 2021

Researchers across human development-related fields agree that learning, wellbeing, and success in school, work, and life are deeply interconnected. P.S. ARTS works within the public education system in our pursuit of social justice because it provides a broad-scale opportunity to create generative spaces for youth that foster learning and wellbeing and, therefore, success. We work through the arts because an abundance of research connects arts education to healthy development, increased college and career opportunities, and personal fulfillment (Deasy, 2002; Hetland et al, 2007). While we recognize that providing access to a robust education is an important first step, we know that the quality of the curriculum and instruction also matters – this includes representation of diverse peoples, perspectives, and cultures.

Representation is critical in the arts and in education. Children’s early experiences shape what they understand of the world and what they imagine to be possible. In this time of social distancing and civil unrest, P.S. ARTS strives to help students feel connected and build understanding through art. This year, our program-wide theme is “Weaving the Threads, Connecting Our Stories”, inspiring our students to share stories and discover how they connect to form personal identity and weave the fabric of communities and cultures. Below are some examples of the questions we ask in our classrooms to shape enduring understandings.

How do the stories we’ve been told influence our experience of the world? 
How do we know when a story is true? 
When do stories narrow our perspective? When do they expand our perspective? 
How are stories different from documentation? 
What unique learning can come from stories told only through music, movement, or images? 
Does anyone have a story that is all their own? Does everyone?

These questions are meant to broaden our ideas of representation, leading us to stories that expand our perspectives, helping us to see the world more clearly. 

To learn more about our 2020-2021 school year program-wide theme click here.

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P.S. ARTSWhy does representation matter in the arts?

Resources and Opportunities for Teaching Artists

on February 2, 2021

Teaching Artist At P.S. ARTS, we value our Teaching Artists and all the work they do for our students. Below are some valuable resources from the Teaching Artists Guild (TAG), including free professional development workshop opportunities and curriculum tools. Check out the links below for detailed information and visit TAG online to sign up for more.

  • Teaching Artists Guild Asset Map: Add yourself to the TAG Asset Map to expand the field of teaching artistry, find out about various work opportunities, and connect with other Teaching Artists on a range of topics.
  • 2021 Professional Development Workshops Series: Check out TAG’s free workshop series, which includes BIPOC Youth Led Professional Development Workshops in which youth artists give insight that can make curriculum relevant and engaging, as well as a series on Advocacy.
  • Check out the Social Justice Database to find resources for Anti Racist teaching resources.
  • Read the Insight/Incite monthly blog by and for teaching artists.

Visit www.teachingartistsguild.org and get connected!

To help further support our Teaching Artists and their classes click here.

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P.S. ARTSResources and Opportunities for Teaching Artists