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This Summer: Students in High-Need Los Angeles Neighborhood Gain Arts and Entertainment Skills

This Summer: Students in High-Need Los Angeles Neighborhood Gain Arts and Entertainment Skills
Students in the 2017 CAP Summer Film Intensive at Susan Miller Dorsey High School. Photo: Rafael Hernandez. Courtesy of CalArts.

CalArts Community Arts Partnership’s (CAP) Summer Arts Program at Susan Miller Dorsey High School in South Los Angeles offers classes in film production, and visual and performing arts.

Creating links to future careers and continuing education for more than 400 local students, the program offers middle-schoolers a bridge to high school, and provides college preparation and workforce development skills for high school students. 

Valencia, CA, June 5—California’s public schools are required to provide arts education, yet 62 percent of students, notably in low-income communities, receive no instruction in arts and entertainment skills  Just a few miles away from major art galleries, film studios and universities, students in South Los Angeles lack the training to take advantage of their region’s educational and career opportunities.

This summer, CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) joins with Susan Miller Dorsey High School to bring arts education to the high-need region of South L.A. The CAP Summer Arts Program will take place at Dorsey High from June 18-July 18, and will culminate on July 21 with a community arts festival on the Dorsey campus.

Now in its 28th year, CAP puts talented faculty, alumni and students of the renowned California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) into more than 35 LA County schools for hands-on learning experiences. The CAP Summer Arts Program includes the second year of the Summer Film Academy, and the Visual and Performing Arts Program (VAPA) Academy. Classes are free to Los Angeles County high school students going into grades 8 through 12 or graduating from high school. 

“With the successful launch of the CAP Summer Film Intensive in 2017, we were able to expose over one hundred students from across LAUSD to the technical and creative aspects of filmmaking,” said Robyn Charles, Program Director/Career Technical Arts at Dorsey High. “This year’s merging of the CAP Summer Film with the Visual and Performing Arts Program provides arts enrichment training to more than 400 students who live in the area. With 6% of the LAUSD student population being African American and 85% of them living within a 5-mile radius of Dorsey, it is imperative that we make every effort to reach the local under-represented community to provide access to art enrichment programs.”

“Our ongoing relationship with Dorsey offers a model for how a private institution of higher learning and a public school can create a successful partnership,” said Bailey Cool, CAP Interim Director of Programs and Operations. “Building on the 2017 Summer Film Academy at Dorsey and an Animation Program during this last academic year, CAP has created an in-depth curriculum for the Summer Arts Program and provided trained teaching artists at no charge. And, we’re looking forward to future projects.”

Classes are taught by CAP Citizen Artist AmeriCorps Fellows. This cadre of 60 teaching artists is comprised of CalArts’s alumni and students who have undergone extensive training to deliver critically needed education in the arts for youth coming of age under challenging conditions.

The CAP Summer Art Program is funded by the California Arts Council, The Walt Disney Company, California Volunteers, AmeriCorps, Eileen Harris Norton, and the National Endowment for the Arts.   

About CAP

The award-winning CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) offers free, after-school and school-based arts programs for youth ages 6-18 in every discipline taught at CalArts. Programs are offered at public schools, community centers and social service agencies, covering a thousand square mile radius across Los Angeles County. Now in its 28th year, CAP serves as a local and national model for arts education organizations.

About Susan Miller Dorsey High School

The vision of Dorsey High School is to produce competitive college and career-ready citizens of the 21st century. Further, Dorsey’s students will be effective communicators, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. To accomplish these goals, Dorsey will provide rigorous standards-based instruction that will empower students with the tools to write coherently, tackle complex equations, demonstrate proficiency, and link learning to the broader world.