Bringing LA’s most recognized industry into the classroom will have immediate AND long-range effects. The LA2050 Report states that 36% of LAUSD students do not graduate high school, adding “That’s up to 20,000 Angelenos entering the modern economy every year and competing without a high school degree.” Per LAUSD staff, this is a conservative number since it does not account for students who drop out before reaching high school. A student’s decision to drop out of high-school is frequently the result of negative school experiences (e.g., academic failure, suspensions) that often begin before the ninth grade. By targeting middle school students, LA Creates! is being designed to appeal to young people at an earlier stage in their education and serve as a catalyst to change this trajectory.
To capitalize on the area’s surging creative sector (one out of every eight jobs in Greater LA, per the 2012 Otis Report on the Creative Economy), LA Creates! will work with Consortium and industry stakeholders to help students develop skills identified by local employers as vital to our continued leadership in the creative industries. These skills are needed for arts-related jobs and careers, such as animators and digital effects artists, as well as non-arts STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers that also value media arts training, because they require communication, collaboration, and problem solving skills, all of which are developed through media arts education. To ensure that the arts and culture ecosystem in LA continues to significantly enhance human development while outpacing other cities in the U.S. and abroad, “LA must recruit, train and retain the next generation of creative artists” (LA2050 Report).
An important aspect of LA Creates! is the development of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in the historic Wilshire May Company building, adjacent to the LACMA campus. This new museum will build on the Academy’s vast archival resources, important ties to the film industry, and robust year-round public programming. It will also complement LACMA’s focus on the visual arts, including the arts of the moving image. Film Independent, an organization that empowers filmmakers to tell their own stories in their own voices, currently works with LACMA on its film programs. Film Independent is a DCA grantee for “Project Involve,” a 20-year diversity program dedicated to cultivating the careers of filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the industry, and will be a natural collaborator for this project.
Moreover, LAUSD will incorporate LA Creates! into its five-year strategic plan for arts integration in public schools, with the final goal of creating a sustainable Media Arts program involving all 85 LAUSD middle schools and reaching the 120,000 middle school students enrolled yearly. The Goldhirsh Foundation award would be a critical first step in launching the initial year of this ambitious pilot.
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