The P.S. ARTS Lawndale Initiative began in September 2005, with an initial five-year action plan supported by a longtime funder to the organization, the Herb Alpert Foundation. After a successful pilot program, P.S. ARTS continues to provide multi-disciplinary arts classes based on the CA Visual and Performing Arts standards, to every child in the school district’s six elementary schools. P.S. ARTS Faculty rotates through the schools in trimesters, so that each child gets yearlong arts classes in three disciplines.
In 2012-2013 Dr. James Catterall led the Centers for Research on Creativity in a study of all P.S. ARTS classrooms in Lawndale elementary schools. The final report showed that the P.S. ARTS program in Lawndale’s elementary schools significantly supports students’ development of creativity, self-confidence, motivation, and empathy. Other noteworthy findings include that students showed strong gains in several key areas of creative capacity and motivation, including originality and connecting creative ideas with the program’s core content tied to social and scientific themes. In the area of knowledge and behavior, students showed increased levels of consideration and empathy for others.