Extended Learning

Inside Out Community Arts is an Extended Learning program of P.S.ARTS focused 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. This national award-winning, research-proven program has been inspiring youth, from the inside out, since 1996.

In 1996 theater artists Camille Ameen and Jonathan Zeichner co-founded Inside Out Community Arts, a not-for-profit arts organization.  There, they led the development of The School Project program in response to a need for violence prevention/intervention after-school programs for middle school youth following the Los Angeles civil unrest of 1992.  Since then, The School Project – now called the Inside Out Community Arts (IOCA) program – has been providing a multidisciplinary arts education to underserved middle school and high school youth.  In 2014, IOCA merged with P.S. ARTS, allowing the program to expand in scope and depth. Current P.S. ARTS Board Trustees, David Kahn and Jango Sircus were board officers of IOCA.  This free-to-families program immerses youth in theatre, movement, arts and media experiences while promoting social and emotional development. Three independent research studies have confirmed the programs’ impact.

The program curriculum adheres to the California Visual and Performing Arts and English-Language Arts Content Standards for six through eighth grades. Teaching Artist Leaders guide students through the curriculum, exposing them to multiple arts disciplines and the elements of creating a play (e.g. theatre vocabulary, thematic through-lines, character development, story and structure, conflict resolution, acting, directing, writing, blocking, vocal projection, singing, and theatrical styles).

Program Accomplishments

Significant Inside Out Community Arts program milestones include:

2014-15: Partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department Southeast Division to provide the IOCA program as an innovative alternative program designed to divert youth from the juvenile court system in South L.A.

2008: IOCA’s award-winning curriculum, The Artist Leader Manual/Curriculum for Youth Empowerment was published.

2005: Recipient of the Coming Up Taller Award by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

2001-06: UCLA Professor and well-respected education researcher, Dr. James Catterall conducted an in-depth research study, which features the IOCA program and demonstrates the positive impact after-school arts programs have on middle school students.  His report was featured on the cover of the national “Teaching Theatre” magazine in 2006.

IOCA has also received multiple commendations for outstanding service to underserved youth and the community from the California Governor’s office, Los Angeles Mayor’s office, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

IOCA Artist Leader <br> Training Academy

IOCA Artist Leader
Training Academy

A paid professional development opportunity for artists and arts educators to explore IOCA’s award-winning curriculum. Selected candidates enter the Artist Leader Training Academy as Trainees in order to complete comprehensive training in the IOCA curriculum and methodology.

Family Workshops

Family Workshops

IOCA Family Workshops are a fun way for parents and youth to collaborate together using improvisation, movement, visual arts, and writing.  Each after-school program includes at least one weekend opportunity where Artist Leaders guide an intergenerational group in one of IOCA’s workshops.

Alumni Mentor Program

IOCA Alumni Mentor Program provides the opportunity for high school and college-aged students to mentor middle school participants in the IOCA after-school program. These young leaders meet once a month to work on leadership, service learning, and theater arts skills. As alumni of the IOCA program, Mentors work side by side with IOCA Artist Leaders during workshops, rehearsals, performances, theater field trips, camping retreats, and community service events.

Alumni Mentors establish meaningful mentoring relationships with current middle school students by serving as positive role models.  By assisting in programs with middle school youth from their own or similar neighborhoods, the Alumni Mentors become living examples of the power of positive life choices.  These mentoring relationships benefit both the mentor and the mentee.  Both become affirming links in a chain that reinforces the power of the arts to inspire self-expression, identity development, and community building.

The Alumni Mentor Program provides a positive nurturing community of peers and adults to IOCA’s high school alumni, supporting and encouraging their dreams, their pursuit of higher education, creative endeavors, and rewarding careers. Program goals include delivery of strong leadership development, advanced arts education and life-skills training programs for graduates of IOCA’s award-winning middle school after-school enrichment programs.

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