Dr. Kristen Paglia named CEO of P.S. ARTS

For Immediate Release


Venice, CA (January 28, 2015) – P.S. ARTS, a non-profit organization providing arts education to 20,000 children attending underserved public schools, today announced that the Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Kristen Paglia as the Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.  Dr. Paglia has served in a leadership role at P.S. ARTS for six years, most recently holding the title of Executive Director, Education & Programs.

“After a thorough selection process, we are very excited to welcome Kristi in this new capacity as CEO,” explains P.S. ARTS Board Chairperson, Joshua B. Tanzer. “With over two decades experience in the arts and public education, Dr. Paglia is well suited to lead the organization in this next phase of development and leadership in the field.”

Started 25 years ago in direct response to education budget cuts that resulted in the drastic elimination of arts programs in California public schools, P.S. ARTS developed from the vision of educator and Crossroads School founder Paul Cummins and funding from musician and philanthropist Herb Alpert. P.S. ARTS has been on a dramatic growth trajectory, incorporating fifteen new schools and acquiring the national award winning Inside Out Community Arts program in the last year alone. President of the Herb Alpert Foundation and P.S. ARTS board member, Rona Sebastian, expresses her enthusiasm for the organization’s progress, saying, “We acknowledge with deep gratification and pride how P.S. ARTS has evolved over these many years to become one of the nation’s premiere, ground-breaking arts instruction programs.”

Dr. Kristen Paglia, Executive Director of Education & Programs“I am honored to take on this leadership position at P.S. ARTS and believe that this role will provide an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in our approach to public education in the way we support young people in navigating the challenges of their daily lives, and prepare them to be the innovators and leaders of the future,” adds Dr. Paglia.

Dr. Paglia holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from Harvard University and is a sought after lecturer and professional consultant, lending her expertise to broad-scale arts education efforts such as the U.S. President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities Turnaround Arts initiative, and the development of the California Department of Education’s Blueprint for Creative Schools. Dr. Paglia also teaches courses at UCLA and Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Paglia is looking forward to continuing the work that recently earned P.S. ARTS the honor of the national Americans for the Arts “Arts Education Award,” which recognizes and celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of national leaders who are advancing the arts in the United States.  In addition, P.S. ARTS, along with students from the Lucille J. Smith Elementary School in Lawndale, CA, was invited by the President of the United State’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities to model an exemplar art project that teaches 4th grade math concepts. First Lady Michelle Obama presided over the Fair, which showcased schools and arts organizations from across the country.

About P.S. ARTS

P.S. ARTS’ mission is to improve the lives of children by providing art education to underserved public schools and communities. It is the only organization in Southern and Central California that provides yearlong art education in dance, visual arts, music, and theatre arts to every child in a school during the regular school day. For more information, please visit www.psarts.org.

For information and inquiries, please contact:
Caroline Graham, C4 Global Communications
Caroline@c4global.com | 310. 899.2727

Environmental Impact Exhibition at Juan Cabrillo Elementary!

After taking a field trip to the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art’s Environmental Impact Exhibition at Pepperdine University, P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist Nicole Fisher tasked her students at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School in the Santa Monica-Malibu School District to imagine that the museum curator asked each student to make a piece to be included in the exhibition.


Using recycled materials, paper mache, and paint, students grades 1-5 created sculptures that addressed man’s influence on nature or nature’s influence on man.


The student exhibition was organized by subject matter: Natural Disasters, Creatures We Care About, Out of this World, Forest of Hope, In the Sea, and Man’s Influence on Nature.


Students also made gallery plaques for their pieces that included their name, year they were born, title of their piece, the materials they used, and what message they tried to convey with their sculptures.  Take a look at some of their work!

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Teaching Artist Hilary Hahn shares a Magic Moment!

All of us here in the office were touched when P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist Hilary Hahn shared this lovely “Magic Moment” in (and out) of her Visual Arts classroom in the Santa Monica-Malibu School District:

“Hello P.S. ARTS Team,

I have a quick magic moment to report.  One of our first graders Yaretzi, after doing a lesson inspired by space and light artist James Turrell, went home and taught her mom some photography skills using an iPad. They spent a weekend together taking photos of the sunset at the beach and focused on the the sky, clouds, shadows and light source.

I think this is a great example of how P.S. ARTS helps to enrich community knowledge and experiences!”

 We couldn’t agree more, Hilary!

Here is a look at some of the beautiful images Yaretzi and her mother created:

Yaretzi's Photos

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Meet the Newest Additions to Our P.S. ARTS Team!

This has certainly been an exciting year for P.S. ARTS. Following our recent merge with Inside Out Community Arts (IOCA) this past spring, we have been graced with a few fresh faces: Lora Cawelti – Program Coordinator, Lauren Deck – Senior Program Coordinator and Lui Sanchez – Associate Director of Programs for IOCA. Due to our quick growth, we were also very happy to welcome two additional members: Jacob Campbell – Operations Assistant and Christopher Lor – Financial Analyst.

While we have definitely had some time to get to know and love our newest personnel, we thought it would be great for you to learn some fun facts about them, as well (you can also feel free to peruse each of their bios)!

Lora Cawelti, Program CoordinatorLora Cawelti, Program Coordinator

Q. Briefly introduce yourself and explain your new position at P.S. ARTS.
A. At P.S. ARTS I am the program coordinator for SMMUSD. I help provide unique arts programming that is custom designed by each school. This district is really exciting because they have made the decision to give the same quality arts education in all eleven schools.

Q. What book is currently on your night stand?
A. My Nook is on my night stand. I am obsessed with impulse buying books while I sit in bed; it’s like having a library at my fingertips and I love it! I am working on reading the Game of Thrones series, but am so constantly distracted by other books, it’ll probably take me years to finish!

Q. What is currently the most played song on your iPod?
A. There’s never any one song. Mostly I’m a public radio junky and I love the The Opera Show on Saturday mornings on KUSC.

A. Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?
I love the Getty Villa because it feels like you’ve been transported to Europe, but my most favorite is the Music Center because it is alive with opera, musicals, theaters, and it reminds me of my earliest theater experiences as a kid in the LA area. Oooohhh, the Hollywood Bowl — It’s the best — being in the peaceful quiet of the outdoors while in the middle of the city.

Q. What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt

Lauren Deck, Senior Program CoordinatorLauren Deck, Senior Program Coordinator

Q. Please briefly introduce yourself and explain your new position at P.S. ARTS.
A. Lauren Deck, I am a visual artist and have worked in the non-profit sector as an instructor and administrator for ten years. I am a new Senior Program Coordinator, and will be administering three main areas for P.S. ARTS – art classrooms in Lawndale and Wiseburn elementary schools in the Centinela Valley, Inside Out Community Arts which is a specialized after-school theatre arts program for middle school students, and a high school after-school program, Teen Media Initiative, that teaches design, online technology and career skills.

Q. What book is currently on your nightstand?
A. I am currently reading Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Q. What is currently the most played song on your iPod?
A. Dido’s  “Let Us Move On” featuring Kendrick Lamar

Q. Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?
A. The Getty because it combines many things I love – paintings, photography, sculpture, installations, gardens, incredible views, and architecture. I also love taking dance classes at Your Neighborhood Studio in Culver City.

Q. What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?
A. Andrew Goldsworthy – a British artist and environmentalist who works in outdoor locations to create temporary installations using only the materials he finds on site. His pieces take tedious hours or days to complete, and then wash away with the tide, wind, rain or snow. When I look at photographs of his beautifully engineered work, I am reached on a deep level about the many life cycles that his art represents.

Lui Sanchez, Associate Director of ProgramsLui Sanchez, Associate Director of Programs, Inside Out Community Arts

Q. Please briefly introduce yourself and explain your new position at P.S. ARTS.
A. Lui Sanchez. Associate Director of Programs, Inside Out Community Arts

Q. What book is currently on your nightstand?
A. The Play that Changed My Life. (Plays that influenced American Playwrights) as well as Tennessee Williams: Plays Volume I and II

Q. What is your favorite food dish?
A. Hmmm, I’ll say broiled chicken drumsticks with jasmine, pepper, and garlic salt – always a good protein pick-me-up warm or cold.

Q. Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?
A. Skid Row – a very exact theatre experience.

Q. What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?
A. Pancho Villa, Ella Fitzgerald when they were about 16 – 17 years old. What was in their eyes?

Jacob Campbell, Operations AssistantJacob Campbell, Operations Assistant

Q. Briefly introduce yourself and explain your new position at P.S. ARTS.
A. My name is Jacob Campbell and I am the new Operations Assistant at P.S. ARTS! I graduated from UCLA in 2013 with a degree in World Arts & Cultures/Dance and minor in Visual and Performing Arts Education, and spent the past year teaching English to second graders in Madrid, Spain. In the summer of 2011, I worked as the Programs Intern at P.S. ARTS, and I am so excited to be back on the team, this time focusing on supporting the Operations side of the organization.

Q. What book is currently on your nightstand?
A. I’m on David Sedaris kick right now! I loved his most recent book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, but I’m currently finishing up a copy of his older book Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim that I picked up from a book exchange at a hostel in Oporto, Portugal. His books are hilarious!

Q. What is currently the most played song on your iPod?
A. “Whispers” by Passenger

Q. Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?
A. Well…I’m a little biased, but I love to see dance performances at UCLA! I also live in Long Beach and everyday on my way to work I drive over the Vincent Thomas Bridge and all the colorful shipping containers and the bright green bridge make me feel like I’m driving through a giant public art installation!

Q. What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?
A. Bob Fosse!

Christopher Lor, Financial AnalystChristopher Lor, Financial Analyst

Q. Briefly introduce yourself and explain your new position at P.S. ARTS.
A. My name is Christopher Lor, I am working as a Financial Analyst at P.S. ARTS. This position mostly deals with the company’s financials.

Q. What book is currently on your nightstand?
A. Currently I have a book called げんき or ‘Genki’ on my table; it is a college textbook used for learning Japanese. Whenever I have the chance, I try to study it in hopes of visiting Japan one day, and so I will be able to communicate with the locals. Note to self: replace Japanese textbook with zombie survival guide.

Q. What is currently the most played song on your iPod?
A. Mono – Kidnapper Bell

Q. Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?
A. One of my favorite places to view art in Los Angeles is actually my hometown at Echo Park. There is a lot of interesting graffiti that usually stays up for a few days then gets removed and updated. Also, there are beautiful murals that were painted by families from the community. I actually went to grade school with one of the family members who painted the mural that I always pass by when I am heading home.

Q. What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?
A. I would take Robert Downey Jr. out for coffee or tea because he is one of my many man crushes. I feel that he would be a very interesting person to have a conversation with.

Thank You to Our P.S. ARTS Community!

Jennifer Leitch, Development Officer


Thanksgiving-Arts-and-Crafts-for-Kindergarten-4In the spirit of Thanksgiving, all of us at P.S. ARTS would like to express our sincere appreciation to our friends, volunteers and supporters. This has been a banner year filled with many magic moments, and a great number of you have contributed to our success. It is with great pride and gratitude that we thank our Teaching Artists for their talent and contagious enthusiasm in the classroom; our partner schools for their commitment to arts education; our contributors for their generosity and encouragement, and finally, our students for their creativity and willingness to learn.

This year, we would also like to extend a special thank you to Inside Out Community Arts. Your trust and confidence in our merger has meant a great deal to us, and we are so grateful to have you as partners in our pursuit of a well-rounded education for public school students. You have brought a greater sense of community to our combined organization, strengthening our reach and mission. We look forward to a successful year ahead.

Once again, thank you to all of our friends and supporters; we wish you a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving!

Behind the Scenes of Express Yourself 2014

Jacob Campbell, Operations Assistant


Last Sunday, the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport was filled to the roof with bright colors, tasty food, and smiling children and families as they explored the amazing arts activities at P.S. ARTS’ 17th annual Express Yourself! The team here at P.S. ARTS could not be more proud of the event and grateful to all of the amazing participants, sponsors, and volunteers that brought it to life. This year, we surpassed our fundraising goal, which allows us to continue to provide high-quality arts education to our 20,000 P.S. ARTS students each week. We want to give all of our guests and supporters a heartfelt thank you!

It was so neat to get a behind-the-scenes look at all the hard work that makes this event such a success. I spend a lot of time here in the office designing collateral and marketing materials, and it was incredibly rewarding to see how each person contributed different elements to make one cohesive and exciting event. I have to give a special shout out to our friends at Office Depot (Manhattan Beach), Westside Print Center, and Marina Graphics for doing such a great job printing our Express Yourself materials, and to Taylor Swift for providing the sweet jams at our framing party. You guys rock!

While this wasn’t my first Express Yourself (I volunteered about 3 years ago in my intern days!), it was my first time wearing the “official” fanny-pack/radio headset combo and walking around making sure everything ran smoothly. My favorite new additions to the event this year were: ArtHaus (for Express Yourself veterans), which was decked out in disco balls and offered teens an instagram-inspired frame project and henna tattos; our Social Media Booth with charging stations to ensure everyone had enough battery life for all their Express Yourself-related posts; and Toddler Town, complete with a giant tee-pee custom made for the event by Blaine Halvorson, Demetrius May, and Janis Wales.

PSARTSExpressYourself2014-_EKL4542This year, we had three beautiful mural projects each created in collaboration with an artist–two with renowned street artist RETNA and the other with our very own Teaching Artist Tiffany Graham, whose community mural project at Juan Cabrillo Elementary inspired the design elements of this year’s event. Each artist first outlined the mural, after which every child gave it their own personal touch. RETNA generously donated his murals to P.S. ARTS to be auctioned at the end of the event! Additionally, thanks to Adam and Connie Derry, all proceeds from the ADBD x P.S. ARTS merchandise line at Express Yourself will go towards the creation of a second community mural in the Wiseburn School District!

P.S. ARTS Presents Express Yourself 2014 photo 1(3)Overall, Express Yourself 2014 was a huge success and we hope our guests enjoyed it as much as we did! See you next year!