The School Project

Inside Out Community Arts Has Joined Forces With P.S. ARTS

Inside Out Community Arts, now a program of P.S. ARTS

Inside Out Community Arts joined forces with fellow Venice-based arts organization P.S. ARTS in July 2014 to increase our collective impact in the community and serve youth ranging from kindergarten through high school.  The School Project, Alumni Mentor Program, and Teen Media Initiative will now be part of the Extended Learning programs of P.S. ARTS.

The School Project, IOCA’s historic flagship program, is a research-proven after-school arts program and is available in three settings.

The School Project (TSP): is a nationally recognized award-winning after-school, weekend, and overnight multidisciplinary arts education program for underserved middle-school youth and high school Mentors. TSP is currently provided after-school on middle school school campuses in LAUSD, Lawndale, Lennox and Wiseburn districts. TSP provides middle school youth with a theatre-based curriculum that adheres to the California Theatre Content and English-Language Arts Standards. The program also offers students a three-day rehearsal/camping retreat, a nature field trip and a free culminating performance of participants’ original plays at a public theatre.

The School Project – Community: is an after-school and summer multidisciplinary arts program provides underserved middle school youth and high school Mentors with a visual arts and theatre-based curriculum that adheres to the California Visual and Performing Arts and English-Language Arts Standards in community centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The summer program culminates with the creation and presentation of an original public mural.

The School Project – Drop In: provides core arts education workshops from the TSP curriculum, to participants on a drop-in basis, at both schools and community centers in underserved Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Over the course of four months, The School Project and The School Project: Community students work with professional Artist Leaders, trained in youth development, in a nationally award-winning, research-proven theatre and arts-based curriculum that adheres to the California Theatre Content and English-Language Arts Standards for grades 6-8. Students experientially learn multiple arts disciplines and the elements of creating a play (e.g., theatre vocabulary, thematic through-lines, character development, story & structure, conflict resolution, acting, directing, writing, blocking, vocal projection, singing and theatrical styles). Grouped in ensembles of 12, students are supported and guided by Artist Leaders and high school aged Mentors as they choose play themes inspired by important issues in their lives (recent topics include: racism, gangs, substance abuse, peer pressure, child abuse, poverty, war, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, and the environment). Once a theme is agreed upon, they develop characters, create dramatic structure and conflict; select roles they will play; compose dialogue; and design and paint set pieces. Students then perform their original plays at a public theater.

Each session TSP participants from different schools come together for: 1.) A theatre field trip to see a professional play — often their first time seeing live theatre; 2.) A three-day rehearsal/retreat at a campsite in the Santa Monica Mountains or a nature field trip; 3.) Saturday family workshops designed to inspire arts appreciation in the community and strengthen family connections and communication; and 4) A final performance at a professional theater.

TSP works with kids at this critical age when they are making crucial life decisions that will profoundly affect their futures and communities.

The School Project has been recognized by:

- The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities awarded The School Project the national 2005 Coming Up Taller Award (received January 25, 2006). Co-Founder Camille Ameen and program participant Brandon Tillis accepted the honor from First Lady Laura Bush at a White House reception.

- Inside Out’s School Project was one of nine programs identified as a model in RAND’s The Arts and Public Safety Impact Study: An Examination of Best Practices.

- California Arts Council recognized The School Project as an Exemplary Arts Program in 2002. The award supported teacher training at LAUSD and an independent case study by two UCLA researchers. Their report concludes: “Inside Out is an ambitious program that practices what it preaches…Other programs interested in finding substantive ways to assist student development should look not only to Inside Out’s design but also to the multiple components of its successful program: philosophy, curriculum, staff, and ultimately a belief in the power of all students.”

- A research study performed by James Catterall published in Teaching Theatre, Winter 2006 edition. Titled “Inside Out’s School Project: A research report measuring the power of a theatre-based program for at-risk junior high students.”

- A Qualitative Case Study Evaluation by Rebecca Joseph & Rachel Estrella funded by the California Arts Council, July 2003. Inside Out Community Arts’ The School Project: Helping Students Construct Individual and Collective Change.