Monthly Archives: December 2010

Art Reduces Crime. And more!

Intersections : The South Los Angeles Report posted an article “Mark Ridley-Thomas has proposal for juvenile justice reform” a couple days ago. It read:

About 20,000 young people are on probation in Los Angeles County right now, and more than 40 percent of these youths will head right back to jail. Board Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas commissioned a report on making transition back into society more successful, and it makes some serious charges.

“We need to be smart about reentry,” Ridley-Thomas said.

The report found that some county juvenile detention camps have good reentry programs; some, but not all. The programs make sure that young people have a safe place, healthcare, addiction treatment, a support system and a plan for avoiding gang life before they leave. But the report argues that these transition services need to become institutionalized.

The researchers pointed to a few exemplary Los Angeles-based organizations as models for the Department of Corrections.

Well all we can say over here is: Don’t forget about art!!!

Art can lower crime, dropout rates, behavioral problems and more. And it’s signifigantly cheaper than the alternatives.  Here are the facts:

In the STAR program in Florida “each participant in Florida’s arts intervention program is only $850 per year—compared with as much as $28,000 per youth in the typical juvenile boot camp.”

And the Outcome of the STAR program: At the start of the STARS Program, 75& of the children were making less than a C average; now 80% are making a C average or better. Since the program’s inception, juvenile crime has dropped 28%, and for youth ages 11 and 12, the rate of recidivism has dropped 64%.

In Washington there’s the Experimental Gallery. Their goal is to teach responsible citizenship through the arts and the humanities. Their program offers workshops in creative writing, painting, drama, graphic design, sculpture, and videography are led by community artists and humanities scholars.

The Outcome of the Experimental Gallery: students in the Experimental Gallery overcome their behavioral problems by 75% and are 50% less likely to commit another crime.

In the words of Richard Romley, Maricopa County District Attorney in
Arizona, “As a prosecutor, I know that crime prevention pays far greater
dividends than prosecution. To this end, I make RICO funds available to
after-school arts and social programs for at-risk children that stimulate
imagination, develop skills and contribute to character development.
Children whose hearts and minds are nourished and challenged in
wholesome ways—such as by art, dance, theater, and sports—are much less
likely to succumb to the lure of crime.”

I could really go on with facts and statistics like this for days. Art affects us and our communities in so many positive ways. What I’d really love is for The Center : South LA to be able to be a part of statistic reporting like this. We’re doing what we can without a permanent space. And I’m proud of what we’ve done so far. But with some funding we could do SO MUCH MORE!!! Funding to pay for a space of our own. We’ve have amazing teachers ready and willing to teach great classes like graphic design, silkscreening, dance, etc… But classes like this require a space of our own.

Donate, please. Let’s do more.

You can email Mark Ridley-Thomas here:


Holiday Wreath Making Class

Join us for a fun Holiday Wreath Making Class. This one’s for the adults!!!

Decorate your home this holiday season with a beautiful wreath you made yourself.

Class size is limited so register today!

To Register: email
Exact address to come once you’ve registered.

Class Fee : $10

Halloween Community Event 2010

We made fun Halloween masks with the youth at a South LA Halloween Community Event. ~ October 30th 2010

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Much thanks to Julio with the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, for inviting us out to get artsy.