#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!

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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

Shinola Detroit Supports P.S. ARTS for the Holidays

on December 12, 2017

by Ratri Lertluksamipun, Associate Director, Event & Corporate Fundraising

P.S. ARTS kicked off the season of giving with an event at Shinola Detroit earlier this month. Hosted by long-time P.S. ARTS supporters Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Charlie Day together with Ryan Michelle Bathe and Sterling K. Brown, holiday shoppers at The Grove were invited to give back at an event with Shinola Detroit benefitting P.S. ARTS.

The hosts, (from left) Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Sterling K. Brown, and Ryan Michelle Bathe were joined by friends and arts education advocates including P.S. ARTS board president Laura Fox and CEO Dr. Kristen Paglia.

Shinola’s American-made luxury goods, which include everything from watches to turntables, made holiday shopping easy and our guests especially enjoyed personalizing their purchases through Shinola’s complimentary monogramming services. Guests were also treated to tasty Umami Burger sliders and fries and artfully mixed holiday cocktails, courtesy of Stillhouse Whiskey. The evening culminated with “Let it Snow” playing in the open-air mall complete with actual snowfall–an experience The Grove will feature each day at 7-8 p.m. until December 25.

We are grateful to the hosts, Shinola Detroit, and The Grove for a wonderful evening benefiting arts education, ensuring P.S. ARTS continues to provide access to high-quality in- and after-school arts programs for under-resourced public schools, including community engagement initiatives that encourage families to create together.

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P.S. ARTSShinola Detroit Supports P.S. ARTS for the Holidays

4 Ways to Support P.S. ARTS this Holiday Season

on December 5, 2017

by Gaby Palmadessa, Advancement Assistant

The season of giving has arrived! There’s no better way to spread holiday cheer than to give the gift of art. This season there are several ways you can help brighten a child’s life by supporting arts education through P.S. ARTS!

1. Donate!

Be the change you wish to see in this world, by donating your change! A gift of $25 provides almost a full month of art classes for one student. By making a year-end contribution at psarts.org/donate you’re giving the gift of art, dance, music, and theater to 25,000 P.S. ARTISTS!

2. Shop on AmazonSmile!

Keep us in mind when you do your online holiday shopping! Shop AmazonSmile and Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to support P.S. ARTS programs.

3. Text PSARTS to 20222!

Simply text PSARTS to 20222 to donate $10! This tax-deductible donation will automatically show up on your next phone bill, making it easier than ever to support our award-winning programs!

A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Donor must be age 18+ and all donations must be authorized by the account holder (e.g. parents). By texting YES, the user agrees to the terms and conditions. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers.Donations are collected for the benefit of the “P.S. ARTS” by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Message & Data Rates May Apply. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to short code 20222; text HELP to 20222 for help. Privacy Policy.

4. Join the Blick Give & Get Campaign!

Now through December 24, Blick Art Materials is hosting a supply drive to help our students flourish. Visit the Pasadena, Santa Monica, Fullerton, West LA, or LA Beverly stores to donate new art supplies and receive a coupon for your next purchase. You can also work on a craft project with us on December 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Pasadena Blick Art Materials. A rewarding way to contribute to arts education in your community!

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P.S. ARTS4 Ways to Support P.S. ARTS this Holiday Season

Volunteer Highlight | Frank Wutts

on December 5, 2017

by Lauren Instenes, AmeriCorps VISTA, Volunteer Program Coordinator

For International Volunteer Appreciation Day this year, P.S. ARTS would like to highlight Frank Wutts who started volunteering with us during the 2015/16 school year. He started by coming to our Family Art Nights in the Lawndale area, and this year he also started serving in a visual arts classroom at Mark Twain Elementary.

“I have been very fortunate to have Frank as a volunteer in my art classes and I cannot praise him enough!”

“He is everything that you would want in a volunteer. Frank is dependable and punctual, and he arrives ready to do whatever it takes to be as helpful as possible. He washes brushes (without a sink in my classroom this makes him particularly valuable!), helps set up and pass out supplies at that crucial moment when there is little time between classes, and assists with keeping students on track with gentle reminders during art-making activities. Very quickly, Frank knew what to do without me having to tell him (he knew just when to pass out paper or glue sticks or guide students to the painting table) which is a tremendous plus. He even donated wood scraps for one of our art projects. Students quickly began to appreciate Frank’s presence and expressed missing him one day when he couldn’t be in class. Frank’s creativity and science mindedness, along with his commitment and genuine altruistic spirit, combine to make him a most awesome volunteer!”

-Wanda Boudreaux, Teaching Artist

We had a chance to talk with Frank about why he loves volunteering with P.S. ARTS:

What motivates you to volunteer for P.S. ARTS?

I was motivated to get involved with P.S. ARTS because I saw students’ work hanging on the walls of another school that I was doing a reading program at and was very impressed with the quality and expressiveness of the work. I could tell that they have a well thought out curriculum and hired well-qualified teachers. I don’t remember having any arts education when I was in school and feel kind of jealous. We just had coloring books and the like but we never learned the elements of art or different styles of art. I love that the kids can produce successful pieces and have fun and freedom when doing so.

Can you share a memorable moment you had while volunteering with P.S. ARTS?

I always enjoy it when I see a student’s light come on and say, “I get it” after I’ve explained something or shown them something.

Thank you Frank for your dedication and commitment to arts education and P.S. ARTS! If you are looking for ways to volunteer with us, visit psarts.org/volunteer for more info. Happy International Volunteer Day!

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P.S. ARTSVolunteer Highlight | Frank Wutts

#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

25,000 Reasons to be Thankful

on November 23, 2017

by Dr. Kristen Paglia

I am thankful for my job. I am happy to say that I feel that way all year, but for the last 10 years at P.S. ARTS I have also enjoyed the specific luxury at Thanksgiving time of sorting through all the different kinds of thankful I get to feel doing this work. Sometimes my gratitude is aimed at being able to make a living at something I care about. Often, I am grateful for the staff, trustees, supporters, and other incredible people I learn from every day. Of course, I am especially grateful for the times I get to be immersed in the joy, curiosity, and artistry of the more than 25,000 children P.S. ARTS serves.

These moments occur when all the moments of everyday gratitude converge at once and I am filled with the kind of optimism and energy that compels me to – just as P.S. ARTS programs encourage children to – dream bigger, work harder, and take better care of this earth and its people.

Like I said, I am thankful in some way for my job all year round, but a few weeks ago when NBC Give and actor Aldis Hodge visited P.S. ARTS’ program at Martin Luther King Elementary in Compton, I got to have what I call a “moment of true wellbeing.” These moments occur when all the moments of everyday gratitude converge at once and I am filled with the kind of optimism and energy that compels me to – just as P.S. ARTS programs encourage children to – dream bigger, work harder, and take better care of this earth and its people.

The day of the shoot, I got to see dozens of third graders throw themselves into a science lesson with total abandon through dance! Watching them barely able to contain their excitement and creativity as they enacted the “bee dance” and explored national science standards with our nonprofit partner, P.S. Science, was beyond gratifying. The children got to spend time with the incredible Aldis Hodge, who could not have been a better role model for scholastic enthusiasm, artistic inspiration, humor, and kindness. I also loved that the students got to see just how many people it takes to film a TV show and get a window into the broad range of career opportunities that exist in the arts. Moreover, P.S. ARTS was presented with a $25,000 gift from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation so that we can continue to provide arts in underserved public schools! It was the kind of day that will get me through those, inevitable, not so easy days. For this, I am so thankful.

I hope you enjoy watching P.S. ARTS’ episode of NBC Give with Aldis Hodge, and that it gives you a moment of wellbeing on this Thanksgiving day, too.

This Giving Tuesday, November 28, 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. ARTS25,000 Reasons to be Thankful

Matisse 101: Society6 Artist Residency at Whaley Middle School

on November 7, 2017

by Nada Alic with Society6

A couple of weeks ago, the Society6 team went down to Whaley Middle School in Compton to host a week-long artist residency in collaboration with P.S. ARTS.

Many of us at Society6 had some of our first experiences learning about and making art in school, and it was the first opportunity we had to really become inspired to work in the arts and become artists ourselves. So we asked S6 artist and illustrator Tallulah Fontaine to join us by hosting a week-long class for the students of Whaley Middle School.

Tallulah took the class through a Matisse 101 crash course, paying homage to the famous artist and his popular cut-out shapes by having the students create Matisse-inspired pieces of their own. Each student chose two subjects, the first slowly morphing into the second over a series of different images.

Whaley Middle School students work on Society6 project

It was awesome to see what some of the students came up with; girls’ faces turned into mountains and pizzas turned into skulls. We were totally blown away by the talent at Whaley Middle School and the kindness and openness of the staff and teachers who welcomed us in for the week.

 Tallulah Fontaine

As a special thanks to the students, we had each of them select a product for their artwork to be printed on so that they could take their art home with them, either on a shirt or a tote or a framed print. Huge shout out to the P.S. ARTS team for helping us put this mini program together and big thanks to the staff and students at Whaley Middle School.

If you want to see what the students came up with you can check out their shop and purchase a future-Matisse of your very own; all proceeds will support P.S. ARTS. Click here to see more of the students’ work!

Society6 staff outside Whaley Middle School
Photos by: Jonathan Chu

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P.S. ARTSMatisse 101: Society6 Artist Residency at Whaley Middle School

2017 Getty Arts Summit

on August 8, 2017

By Education & Media Intern Yesenia Perez

2017 Getty Arts Summit - Can you spot me on the right?

On Monday, July 10th, I visited the Getty Arts Center for my first time. There I met over 100 other Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Interns, representing more than 90 Los Angeles-area museums and visual arts organizations, all of us eager to begin our day at the 2017 Getty Arts Summit.

2017 Getty Arts Summit  Exterior view of The Getty Center

After sharing introductions over coffee and pastries in the courtyard, we moved inside the Getty Museum Lecture Hall where Cynthia Querio, The Getty Foundation Program Assistant, welcomed us to the space. Ms. Querio gave a brief overlook at the exciting things underway through the Getty Foundation including Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, the upcoming collaboration of arts institutions across Southern California highlighting Latin American and Latino art.

2017 Getty Arts Summit(c) 2017 J. Paul Getty Trust

Betty Avila, Associate Director of Self-Help Graphics, delivered the keynote address in which she weaved together an authentic and honest reflection of her own personal journey with counsel for emerging leaders, seamlessly touching upon the complicated politics of gentrification and art and exploring the evolving landscape of arts leadership. Drawing from her own experience and position at Self-Help Graphics, she underscored the importance of career mentorship whilst emphasizing the necessity for women of color to boldly and unapologetically take up leadership roles in the art world.

Following the keynote address, we participated in breakout sessions led by fourteen professionals working in a variety of careers with Los Angeles art organizations and institutions. I attended the “Civic Engagement and Art Education” session with Sandy Rodriguez, an artist and independent educator; “Artists and Community Partnerships” with Shelby Williams-Gonzalez, Development and Communications Director of artworkxLA; “Communicating the Arts” with Kimberly Kandel, Communications Coordinator for the Ford Theatres in Hollywood; and “Learning from Exhibitions” with Jamillah James, Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. As my passions lie at the intersection of art, education, and social change, I found the interactive dialogue with Sandy Rodriguez particularly relevant and affirming, while hearing from Shelby Williams-Gonzalez about her work with artworxLA happened to harmoniously align with my forthcoming senior thesis, which will center the creative arts as a space to negotiate identity, construct multiple forms of knowledge and capital, and disrupt the school to prison pipeline. These conversations were also great spaces for me to learn about what other interns were up to and in what exciting and unexpected ways our interests overlapped.

2017 Getty Arts SummitMs. Querio leading us through Eyewitness Views!

By this point in the afternoon our hunger was satiated by the delicious sandwiches we enjoyed with our Learning Hubs during lunch. Learning Hubs are regional cohorts of around fifteen to twenty MUI interns, each with a group leader who is a full-time employee at one of the participating organizations. Westside Hub #6 is led by our own Gaby Hernandez, who organized an outing to The Museum of Jurassic Technology and The Wende Museum a few weeks earlier. It was fun to reconnect with my fellow Hub members while taking a walk through Robert Irwin’s Central Garden, though the sweltering heat quickly forced us to retreat back inside for air conditioning. We wrapped up the afternoon with gallery and department tours; I had the privilege of touring Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth Century Europe and Berlin/Los Angeles: Space For Music.

My day at the Getty solidified my interest in working in the arts and most importantly, broadened the scope of abundant opportunities that are available by introducing me to a diverse range of individuals working at multiple levels to transform communities and society.

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P.S. ARTS2017 Getty Arts Summit

Meet Our 2017 Getty Intern!

on June 16, 2017

Please join us in welcoming Yesenia Perez, our new summer intern! We asked her a few “get-to-know-you” questions — see what she had to say!

Yesenia Perez, Education & Media Intern (through the Getty Foundation’s Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program)

Briefly introduce yourself and explain your new position at P.S. ARTS.
My name is Yesenia and I am the Getty Education & Media Intern this summer at P.S. ARTS. I am a senior Education and Sociology double major at Vassar College. I will be drawing on my background in teaching to translate and further develop accessible P.S. ARTS To-Go plans and Family Art Night projects.

What book is currently on your nightstand?
Ishmael by David Quinn was my last interesting read but I’m currently re-reading Freedom from the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti

What is currently the most played song on your iPod?
I can listen to the entirety of the Ego Death album by The Internet or Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino, but Mar (Lo Que Siento) by Bomba Estéreo seems to fit any mood I’m feeling so I listen to it a lot!

Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?
I love performance art – as a writer myself, I’m always looking to support friends and local artists of color performing spoken word and theater.

What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?
I always have a tough time answering this type of question, hmmm – right now, I would say I’d be interested in sitting down with María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, the first indigenous woman running for president in Mexico.

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P.S. ARTSMeet Our 2017 Getty Intern!