P.S. ARTS was created in response to significant education budget cuts in the 1970s and 1980s, which cut local tax revenues for public schools and resulted in the systematic reduction and elimination of arts programs in California public schools.
In 1991, Dr. Paul Cummins, renowned educator, author, and founder of Crossroads School in Santa Monica, was on his way to the kitchen during a potluck dinner and literally bumped into a man that he had never met but looked quite familiar – famed musician Herb Alpert. They began a conversation, which has become P.S. ARTS folklore: Paul decried the lack of arts education at a local school he had recently visited. Herb’s response was, “You mean the arts are just gone from these public schools? What if I gave you a grant?” And thus, P.S. ARTS was founded as an outreach project of the Crossroads Community Foundation. In 2003, P.S. ARTS received its own non-profit 501(c)(3) designation.
P.S. ARTS has grown from serving 285 students in one school to over 25,000 students in 57 underserved schools across Los Angeles County and California’s Central Valley; P.S. ARTS also serves nearly 10,000 students and families through our Community Engagement programs. In 2014, P.S. ARTS acquired the award-winning after-school arts organization Inside Out Community Arts to further expand our scope of service. Today, P.S. ARTS is widely regarded as an exemplar arts education provider, reaching beyond providing arts instruction and increasing quality, equity, and access in education by disseminating program resources, providing professional development, and contributing to national arts education policy discussions.