Joyner Parent Engagement

on January 5, 2021

This year, P.S.ARTS received a generous grant from the Leonard Hill Charitable Trust to provide arts integration services for Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School starting in the summer of 2020 through 2024. This fall, we have provided a variety of services including teacher & parent engagement events, Family Art Nights, and professional development in arts integration. In addition to these services, we will provide one-on-one coaching for classroom teachers starting in spring 2021.

In light of the transition to distance learning, parents and family engagement opportunities have been adapted to a virtual format and Joyner embraced the opportunity to work with P.S.ARTS as a way to keep parents connected with the school community through the arts. So far this year, we’ve provided virtual Visual Arts and Dance engagement opportunities for parents.

Parent Visual Arts Night from 10/27/20 facilitated by Karen Ramirez.

We will continue to provide these services through 2024 and look forward to bringing the arts to all parents at Joyner in the coming years!

Want to know more about parent engagement opportunities? Keep an eye out for other free Family Art Night events as well as other activities that we’ll be posting about in our emails and social media.
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Gaby PalmadessaJoyner Parent Engagement

#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

Dance with Jazzy

on December 10, 2020
Teaching Artist Jasmine Burgos (Jazzy) teaches dance with P.S. ARTS. She’s been leading Zoom classes for our students and their families over the last year, so we wanted to ask her a few questions about what she loves about teaching dance. Be sure to join us and Jazzy the evening of Friday, December 11, 2020 for a free and fun Family Art Night Salsa Zoom class! Click here to RSVP.

Why do you think this type of community work is important?
I feel that community building is important because it allows space for people to connect with each other. It allows us to share an experience with one another and opens the possibility for building relationships.  

What do you think families get out of the Dance FANs?
There is something to be said about children seeing their parents learn something new, and more so learning with them. It allows the parents to show their children that it’s ok to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. 

Why did you choose Salsa?
To me Salsa is freedom! Freedom to mix and match movement (just like the music….it’s a mixture of many forms of music) and freedom to add your own sabor (flava) in the movement. 

How is leading dance classes over zoom different from in-person? Are there any fun new opportunities that you found?
The biggest difference I have found with Zoom classes is the amount of energy I put out while teaching. To attempt to create the energy you feel when you’re in a room full of people is challenging. I often find joy watching students collaborate in breakout rooms. Witnessing the creative process has always fascinated me.

Do you have any advice for our dancers who are shyer?
Feel FREE to watch for a bit but BE brave enough to TRY!!!!

Thank you, Jazzy! We can’t wait to dance with you all soon! Keep an eye out for other free Family Art Night events that we’ll be posting about in our emails and social media.
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Gaby PalmadessaDance with Jazzy

November 2020 | Arts Ed RECAP

on November 9, 2020

Arts Education RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for November 2020.

Americans for the Arts Issues Statement Congratulating President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris “This was a historic election with a record-high popular vote electing Joe Biden to become the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris, as both the first woman and woman of color, to be elected as vice president. The election was a triumph for our nation and for its progress towards democracy, racial justice, and equity.” Americans for the Arts


More Than Art in Art Education “The contributions of art education extend far beyond the school walls. Children learn skills they can use in their future careers, and older adults rediscover the joy they experienced as children.” Inside Indiana Business

Pandemic Takes a Swipe at Fine Arts Education, but Might Just Prove How Much it’s Worth “Students of all ages are in a different kind of bind. Their own exposure to the fine arts — music, visual arts, dance and theater — is deemed so important to professional educators that it is written into the Pennsylvania School Code. This is not because the commonwealth wants to churn out millions of professional artists, but because study after study has shown that exposure to the arts is crucial to students’ development in just about everything else: cognitive, emotional and social development, critical thinking, problem solving, independence, resilience, risk taking and more.” Go Erie

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Gaby PalmadessaNovember 2020 | Arts Ed RECAP

Meet Our New Staff Members!

on November 2, 2020

We’re thrilled for you to meet our new staff members, Gilda and Francisco! Gilda is our new Associate Director of Communications, and Francisco is our Inside Out Community Arts (IOCA) Programs Assistant. We asked them a few introductory questions. See what they had to say! 

Briefly introduce yourself and explain your position at P.S. ARTS.

Gilda standing in front of her bookcase.

Hi! My name is Gilda Davidian and I recently joined P.S. ARTS as the Associate Director of Communications. My role includes overseeing communications in its various forms for the organization. Additionally, I raise awareness of the work that P.S. ARTS does and the positive impact it creates by providing high-quality arts education for so many communities.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

I am currently enjoying The Idiot by Elif Batuman, a funny coming-of-age novel about a girl in her first year of college and her experiences with words and love and the ups and downs of self-discovery.

What is currently the most played song you’ve been listening to?

When I need a quick boost, I listen to “Take on Me” by A-Ha. It always gets me dancing. For a more relaxing vibe, my family loves Vince Guaraldi. My kids have had Robert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine on heavy rotation recently, which I enjoy too.

Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has such a vibrant art scene. There’s so much to take in! I love the programming coming out of smaller art spaces and community centers like the Women’s Center for Creative Work and Clockshop. I like seeing exhibitions that pose questions or bring things together in ways that expand our ideas of the world. 

What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?

I would love to sit with Maya Angelou and hear her talk about anything…and everything! I would also love to have a coffee and pick up roadside litter with David Sedaris, since that is a pastime of his.

Briefly introduce yourself and explain your position at P.S. ARTS.

Francisco stands in front of his bookcase.

Hi! My name is Francisco Uribe, and I’m the Inside Out Community Arts Program Assistant. My responsibilities include administrative and logistical support, as well as supporting our wonderful Teaching Artists.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Last Evenings on Earth, a collection of complex but provocative short stories by the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño.

What is currently the most played song you’ve been listening to?

“Pride and Joy,” by Stevie Ray Vaughan. I love blues guitar!

Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?

The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, as well as the Laemmle Theatre; they play a lot of great arthouse films there.

What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?

Emiliano Zapata. 

Thank you, Gilda and Francisco! We are so excited to have you as our new staff members. To learn more about our whole team click here.

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Gaby PalmadessaMeet Our New Staff Members!

SAC Lunch – Student Art Club

on October 29, 2020

By: Karen Ramirez, Program Assistant

SAC Lunch is back at Will Rogers! Before distance learning began, P.S. ARTS had partnered with Will Rogers Middle School to bring the students Student Art Club (SAC) Lunch, a weekly art club where students were able to enjoy a creative space during or after their meal. This P.S. ARTS program was intended to reduce social isolation during lunchtime and to introduce quality art projects using materials that were not often readily available to students. With these tools, students were guided through the art projects and encouraged to make their own pieces with individual messages. Each student would organically find their preferred materials and projects, experimenting with different mediums and themes. 

Though the program was cut short in May of 2020 due to campuses closing and the transition to distant learning, P.S. ARTS is excited to announce that SAC Lunch has relaunched on October 15, 2020 as a virtual program! Every Thursday, students of Will Rogers are invited to take part in a 45 minute art lesson after routine school hours. Students are given individual art kits to take home and are scheduled to receive even more fun and unique materials in the future. During our SAC Lunch program, students are guided through exciting, educational art projects just like they were able to do before! They are also allowed to opt out of the project and create their own artwork at any time.

The SAC Lunch program allows students to express what they are going through and to help ease feelings of isolation.

P.S. ARTS is providing students with the opportunity to build and nurture a creative online space to call their own. During this time of distance learning, it is important to express one’s self through the arts and find creative ways to establish and maintain friendships. The SAC Lunch program allows students to express what they are going through and to help ease feelings of isolation. We are excited to be back and we look forward to finding new ways to keep our students engaged with the arts!  

To find out how you can support programs like SAC Lunch click here.

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Gaby PalmadessaSAC Lunch – Student Art Club

October 2020 | Arts Ed RECAP

on October 7, 2020

Arts Education RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for October 2020.


Creativity Is Not a Soft Skill — It Is a Must-Have Mindset for the 21st Century. How Teachers Can Nurture It in Their Students “Creativity comprises the behavior, actions and interpretations of how we relate to and experience the world. It is a habit, and one we can exercise. It is not a soft skill, so it’s time to stop thinking about creativity as nice to have and start remembering that creativity is essential.” The 74

New Research Report Reflects Importance of Arts Education “The 2018-2019 Partnering Arts, Communities, and Education PACE Project Report reflects a collection of data on student growth and shows that, through arts integration, students are gaining knowledge, skills, and understanding in the arts and in literacy skills. This research demonstrates that the arts create important pathways to learning for students and that learning through the arts produces long-lasting, positive impacts.” WBIW

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Gaby PalmadessaOctober 2020 | Arts Ed RECAP

The Studio!

on September 24, 2020

By: Joella Still, Volunteer Coordinator

Strategizing ways to stay connected during COVID-19 has become a priority for P.S. ARTS as we adjust to the new normal of social distancing, and it’s become clear that preparing all generations for virtual learning and virtual community experiences is critical. In the spirit of staying connected, and in partnership with the Eisner Foundation, P.S. ARTS has developed an arts wellness program for our volunteers ages 55+. While prioritizing their physical and mental health, the purpose of this program is to provide a way for our volunteers to stay engaged with our organization, the arts community, and each other.


The Studio is a free visual arts and movement program that takes place every Tuesday and every other Thursday. With a structure similar to our Classroom Studio program, The Studio is designed for participants to learn about artists and various art forms, and create art and movement pieces. As we work to decolonize our classrooms, curriculum, and programming across the organization, The Studio focuses on the needs and interests of our participants. This includes incorporating their personal song choices in our movement classes and expanding on their favorite techniques in visual arts.

The Studio is a free visual arts and movement program that takes place every Tuesday, and every other Thursday. 

Our volunteers have engaged with choreography inspired by dancers such as Alvin Ailey and Katherine Dunham, and artists like Bisa Butler, while incorporating their own creative process.  They have learned new ways to create visual arts pieces such as printmaking and making their own stamps. In our movement classes, Brain Dance and Mindfulness are an important part of how we start and end our classes.

Community and togetherness are extremely important during this time of social distancing, and what better way to stay connected than by making art. Thank you to the Eisner Foundation for supporting The Studio and our other intergenerational arts programs!

To sign up for a Studio class or learn more please click here.

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Gaby PalmadessaThe Studio!

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! P.S. ARTS Programs are Up and Running

on September 8, 2020

By Kristen Paglia, CEO

The 2020-2021 school year is all about going the distance. We’ve been training for this marathon school year all summer; building our team’s confidence and endurance so we can meet the challenges of distance education and provide arts programs to lessen the racial and economic divide diminishing children’s opportunities – rights – to be safe, well, and thrive.

In many ways, our work this year is no different than when P.S. ARTS was created nearly thirty years ago. Distinguished educator and P.S. ARTS founder, Paul Cummins, sought to advance social justice by restoring arts education in public schools where programs proven to increase children’s chances for success in school and life had been slashed. Understanding that justice is a moving target, P.S. ARTS staff, Teaching Artists, and trustees developed a program model that could evolve over time in sync with the communities we serve, the moment we are in, and cutting edge research on the role arts education plays in children’s learning, development, and wellbeing.

While nothing could have prepared us for the challenges of this moment, this flexible approach to programming has empowered us to respond to them. As a global pandemic exposes and worsens the deleterious effects of systemic racism on individual lives, communities of color, and our collective humanity, P.S. ARTS reaffirms our commitment to justice. With so much distance to cover over this unprecedented school year, we’ve charged-up our programs with increased focus on culturally responsive, anti-racist teaching, and social-emotional learning. We’ve revised the P.S. ARTS Program Guide in line with the time, and we are providing ongoing training for educators on leveraging the strengths of distance education and harnessing the power of the arts to create just, inclusive, generative learning environments. Whatever the learning platform, over however much distance, the whole P.S. ARTS team – you, our friends and donors, included – has an eye on getting to a finish line where every child has the opportunity, tools, and courage to live a fruitful and fulfilling life. As the P.S. ARTS motto goes – We have the freedom to imagine. We have the power to create. We are P.S. Artists.

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Gaby PalmadessaOn Your Mark, Get Set, Go! P.S. ARTS Programs are Up and Running

September 2020 | Arts Ed RECAP

on September 4, 2020

Arts Education RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for September 2020.


Los Angeles Superintendent Calls $150M COVID-19 Testing Effort ‘Necessary and Appropriate,’ but What He Really Wants Is a National Plan While the Los Angeles Unified School District is not opening its schools anytime soon, the system’s massive COVID-19 testing and tracing initiative could be the “missing piece” that will allow students to return to classrooms and keep them there, said Superintendent Austin Beutner. The74

As the Coronavirus Upends Schools, Experts Say Don’t Forget the Arts Arts education often is seen as a frill. But research shows it boosts educational performance. Exposure to the arts can have direct and indirect benefits to mental and physical health. Far from being a luxury, they fill an essential human need. The Telegraph

State Data Can Help Address Arts Ed Needs During and After the Pandemic Policymakers and communities urgently need data to address the pandemic’s impact on students’ participation in arts education. Data can also expose structural inequities that deny students of color and students from low-income households’ access to the fortifying power of the arts in their schools. The toolkit will help you find, analyze and report on such data, which most states already collect. EdNote

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Gaby PalmadessaSeptember 2020 | Arts Ed RECAP