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: markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov

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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 hello@thecentersouthla.com
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.

Two Fun Events

A great South Los Angeles group CSU (Community Services Unlimited) is having two awesome events in November. If you remember these are the amazing folks that put on the South LA Earth day every year. (We had an artsy booth at this years!) If you’re looking for locally grown organic produce you can sign up with CSU and for an incredibly reasonable fee, pick up a bag weekly. It’s the best. Read more about it at : csuinc.org And now the events!

 

Friday, November 12th : 6pm to 8pm.
Caribbean Cuisine Food Party!
featuring Kamilche Sea Farms Mussels
Hosted by Shema Muhuga, a friend of CSU at his Playa Del Rey residence, this food party will feature the mouthwatering flavors of the Caribbean. Soca and Calypso will be the music playing for the evening along with video footage from the October 2010 Los Angeles Carnival and the February 2010 Trinidad and Tobago carnival. As always local seasonal produce will be highlighted, but a special item for this evening will be a treat for sea food lovers. Kamilche Sea Farms has been farming mussels in the Puget Sound since 1981 and since 1986 has specialized in the culture of the premium Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis).  These mussels, common to Spain, are believed to have been brought over to the Pacific centuries ago on the bottoms of Spanish Galleons.  Today Kamilche Sea Farms grows these mussels starting with premium hatchery seed.  Suspended from long lines in the rich deep waters of the Puget Sound, a premium mussel is ready for harvest in less than a year. Kamilche Sea Farms’ growing waters, in Totten Inlet, have been state certified since 1926. This bay is designated by the Washington Department of Ecology as a “Unique Growing Area” due to its pristine waters and high shellfish productivity. Strict watershed protection measures ensure that it will remain pure for generations to come. A huge thank you to Kamilche Sea Farms for the donation of the mussels for this Food Party, we encourage you to check out http://www.kamilcheseafarms.com and support those businesses that support sustainable communities. A detailed menu and address for the event will be sent to those that RSVP, but you can be sure to get home cooked gourmet food, featuring locally grown and beyond organic produce, at an incredible price of $20.00, along with great company and the knowledge that your dollars are supporting a great cause.
Spaces are limited, so RSVP soon to Dyanep1@csuinc.org or call 323 299 7075.


Saturday, November 13th : 9am to 1pm.
Garden Gateway Workshop Series
Planting to Amend Soil + Healthy Greens
EXPO Center/CSU Urban Farm, corner of King and Bill Robertson Lane (formerly Menlo Ave), 3980 S. Bill Robertson Lane., LA, CA 90037, next door to the senior center, enter from Bill Robertson Lane. Garden Gateway Project Workshop Series takes place on the 2nd Saturday of every month. The Community Gateway to Building Food Self-Reliance –  Free Gardening, Nutrition and Cooking Workshop! In partnership with: The EXPO Center, UNO and USC Keck School of Medicine Childhood Obesity Research Center.
To RSVP call 323 299 7075
and please be prepared to attend the entire workshop.  Download flier at http://www.csuinc.org

Everyone loves the library!


Well, at least I always have. The library was always a special magical place for me growing up. I loved (and still love!) books.

Raising the funds to build The Center is tough. And has taken a lot longer than I ever thought. Maybe it’s the times, maybe I had much shorter than realistic time-line, either way it’s become clear to the group that we needed to make some shorter term goals.

It was in a board meeting that Aaron made the statement “I just want to start.” And that’s become our new mantra.  In this city, where there are so many people with disposable income you never really know what will happen. People could get interested and we could have the money in a couple months, or it could be slow going and take years. We have vision and direction to build a center for the arts in South Los Angeles. A true center for the arts with a 60 seat theater for events and performances, a silkscreening studio, a dance studio, etc.. but the fact is it could take years to get our dream space.

Which begs the question, what do we do? Well, in the words of Aaron, we start.

So we’re looking into places like the public libraries, schools, etc… Places that have space we could use to teach art classes out of. It’s exciting and disappointing at the same time. It’s disappointing, because it severely limits all the awesome classes we want to offer. It’s exciting because we are living our mission statement.

“…to inspire and educate young people in the community through unique classes in the arts…”

Art should be accessible to everyone, and we will be doing just that.

I was dropping off a book at the Vermont Square Library (See the photo above of the beautiful space surrounded by an equally beautiful park.) And thought, hey while I’m here it would be a good chance to talk to them. Aaron had emailed them previously, but as we’ve found, emails so often get lost in the shuffle or the dreaded spam filter.

The librarians were super nice. AND they have an AWESOME community space in their building. It even has a sink in the room which allows us to do painting and other sink-necessary classes.

Because it’s a city owned space there are a lot of rules, which they’re looking into. The next steps on our side, is deciding what we can do that is appropriate in the space. (It’s like you’re coming into someone else’s house and you want to be respectful and considerate.) Maybe we do one or two Saturday classes to learn how to work well together and then build from there. Maybe we try and do art classes that have a tie-in with cool books. There’s a lot to figure out. We’ll be deciding our next board meeting.

Very positive news. At the very least, two art classes would up the art in the area, basically by 200%. That’s the part we need to remember, every little bit helps. Everything has a positive impact.

P.S. You can always donate so we have the funds to pay for art supplies and a building of our very own.

-Jess

LA Phil, As he’s known to his peeps.

Last week I met with Leni from the LA Philharmonic. She is so nice. We were email introduced by Terence from LA Stage Alliance. She had seen our viral video, and asked him about the project.

The LA Phil is doing this really neat program right now called YOLA. Their vision is to build youth orchestras in ‘underserved communities’.  Right up our alley. When we get a building *ah the magic phrase* then this program has additional space to offer classes. How cool is that? You can read more about The LA Phil program here: link

So, in meeting with Leni she pointed out something we’ve come to realize, a lot of starting non-profits have a business partner. There’s usually the creative team and then someone with more of a real estate background who has a lot more of the connections to funding.

It’s not impossible to do this without one, but it really does help. Inner City Arts had a similar set-up when they started. The founders were Bob Bates (Co-Founder and still Artistic Director) and Irwin J. Jaeger (Co Founder). Bob was the professional artist and Irwin was the business guy with real estate experience. There’s even a quote on their website

“You pay the bills and I’ll teach the classes.”
Bob Bates to Irv Jaeger
Inner-City Arts Co Founders, 1989

So we’re keeping our eyes out. If anyone out there has this kind of experience and would like to help, please let us know.

I’m going to be meeting with Bob Bates of Inner-City Arts tomorrow and am super excited. The set-up of Inner-City Arts is very similar to what we’re going for. It’s a rare opportunity to be able to talk to an individual who has founder and continuing experience of a successful arts center.

And Our Fundraising Campaign in LIVE!

Here it is boys and girls. Our very first fundraising campaign. “I Art LA”. We’ve got a kick butt viral video, and a bunch of “I Art LA” tees designed by different awesome LA artists. Buy a tee or just straight donate. Every dollar helps. And spread the word!!! Blog the video, put it on your facebook, twitter the tweet out of it. When you donate or buy a shirt TELL PEOPLE that you have. Your support can only encourage other people to join in this movement. We can’t do this alone we NEED your help.

Did you know that there are over 14.8 million people in Los Angeles? Did you know that if half, just half of those people donated $1, yes, one dollar to The Center we’d be up and running for the next 15.9 YEARS! Off of a dollar for every other person. So lets do this people!

Let’s bring art to ALL of LA!

And just so you know, this is the kind of money we need to raise:

BUILDING RENOVATION COSTS: $245,469.25
Includes building the 60 seat performance theater, dance studio, silkscreening studio, and visual arts station. Removal of ugly security bars and installation of roll up security grates, exterior paint job and repair, interior paint job and repair, design, fire extinguishers, permits, landscaping, and much much much more.

SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT – Dance : $287.97
Includes mops, specialty cleaner, mop bucket, etc for the year.

SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT – MUSIC : $1,763.65
Includes piano, piano tuning, DJ station with mikes, turntables, etc…

SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT – SILKSCREENING STUDIO: $7,860.18
Includes gallons and gallons of ink, screens, cleaner, rubber gloves, wet media acetate, srub pads, ink containers, screenprinting pens, tape, and more.

SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT – VISUAL ARTS : $8,988.98
Includes kid brushes, teen and adult brushes (different brushes for different mediums), acrylic paint for kids, acrylic paint for teens and adults, Paint Palettes that hold 6 colors, paint palettes that hold 10 colors, oil paint, linseed oil, Turpenoid Natura, sketch boards, various charcoals (over 144 sticks), rubber erasers, drawing pads, sketch pads, kid scissors, adult scissors, canvases, primed wood panels, various drawing pencils (Pack of 144, 6B, 4B, 2B, B, HB, 2H), pencil sharpeners, glue, bristol pads, Rolls of 36′ x 1000 ft utility paper in various colors, newsprint sheets and rolls, construction paper, craft cups, craft sticks, feathers, pipe cleaners, felt, tissue paper, and of course goggly eyes and more.

OPERATIONAL COSTS : $430,724
Includes xerox machine, office supplies, wireless router, 2 computers, microsoft office, iwork, printed materials, internet, web hosting, utilities, salaries, health insurance, building insurance, volunteer insurance, event insurance, general liability, workers comp, legal services, fundraising/marketing/advertising/promotion, and more.

Did you know, we actually have this priced out down to the penny. Our budget plan looks more like a shopping list. For example 16’ Dance Barre with 3 double/adjustable chrome brackets is $397.50, 2-Ikea Expedit Bookcases for people to store their backpacks and shoes in for the Dance Studio are $99 each. Kneaded Rubber Erasers for the drawing classes, (they’re for charcoal and pencil) are $.99 each at the 2-1/8” x 2-1/8” x 3/8 size. We figure we’ll go through 50 of that size in a year which equals out to $49.50. This is how we did our budget. We priced out down to the penny every item we could.