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Free Youth Arts Program Prevents Summer Learning Loss

CalArts’ Community Arts Partnership (CAP) launches seventh annual Summer Arts Program at Ramon Cortines High School for the Visual and Performing Arts

Arts workshops help close the “achievement gap” between underserved students and their more affluent counterparts

CAP Summer Arts Program (CAPSA), 2010. Photo: Scott Groller

Valencia, CA, July 14—From coast to coast, educational funding cuts result in less class time for public school students. The New York Times reports that, in Los Angeles, budgets for summer classes have been slashed from $18 million to three million—putting young people at risk of Summer Learning Loss Syndrome, which can cause the loss of up to two to three months of reading and math skills. Providing an alternative to this disturbing trend, the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) is currently offering a free summer arts program for 250 high school students primarily from underserved neighborhoods of Los Angeles, along with a group from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Launched more than 20 years ago, CAP is a youth arts education project of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), an internationally acclaimed Los Angeles-area arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs in the visual, performing, media and literary arts.

The CAP Summer Arts Program (CAPSA) runs from July 11th through the 28th at the Ramon Cortines High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in downtown Los Angeles. CAPSA offers the sights and sounds of teenagers creating vibrant and sophisticated work in all genres of the arts. It provides concrete examples for recent studies on summer learning loss and shows how schools and organizations can join forces to overcome shrinking budgets and create learning opportunities of the exceptional quality. Culminating events on July 27th and 28th provide a lively showcase for student exhibitions and performances.

“This is not a school, not a camp, but artists working with artists in a studio environment,” noted Glenna Avila, the Wallis Annenberg Director of CAP. The intensive program for high school students offers workshops in animation, creative writing, dance, digital filmmaking, music, photography, theater, and the visual arts. Each of these workshops will be led by outstanding artists on the CalArts faculty accompanied by CalArts student instructors and alumni.

Decades of research, including a new study by the RAND Corp., document how summer learning loss is particularly acute for lower-income children with limited access to travel, museums, libraries and other enriching learning experiences—and accounts for two-thirds of the achievement gap between underserved students and their more affluent counterparts. To offer students continued summer leaning opportunities, CAPSA provides eight hours of studio practice with instructors each day—adding up to more than a semester of class time—and provides field trips to local museums and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to see the American Ballet Theater.

“One way school districts can make summer learning programs affordable and more effective is by partnering with community-based organizations," said study co-author Catherine Augustine, a senior policy researcher at RAND. "They are often less expensive than school district staff, and they offer enrichment opportunities that are often similar to those experienced by middle-income youth during the summer. Now in its seventh year, the newly expanded version of CAPSA is the result of an innovative public-private partnership between educational institutions and funders—CalArts, the Los Angeles Unified School District, The Herb Alpert Foundation and Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

Please note: students, educators, funders and researchers are available for interviews.

Links to more information:

Rand Corporation: Investment in Summer Learning Programs Can Help Stop the 'Summer Slide'

New York Times: As Budgets Are Trimmed, Time in Class Is Shortened

CalArts Celebrates The Herb Alpert Foundation’s Unique Partnership with the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP)

CAPSA 2011

About CAP

CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP)
The CAP program involves youth between the ages of 10 and 18 at 52 sites throughout Los Angeles County—employing some 60 CalArts faculty members and nearly 300 student instructors to deliver free instruction in fine art, photography, printmaking, graphic design, digital media, animation, video, jazz, world music, chamber music, theater, puppetry, dance, and creative writing. Educating more than 7,500 underserved youth each year, CAP has received numerous accolades—including the John Anson Ford Human Relations Award from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations in 2008, the Ovation Award for Community Outreach from Los Angeles Stage Alliance in 2006, and, in 2004, the Coming Up Taller Award—a national recognition of outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, providing the youth learning opportunities and chances to contribute to their communities.



Last edited by dthatt on Jul 18, 2011
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