P.S. ARTS works within the public education system in our pursuit of social justice.

This provides a broad-scale opportunity to create generative spaces for youth that foster learning and wellbeing and, therefore, success. Its programs are purposefully designed to benefit students beyond the intrinsic value of creative expression by directly addressing social emotional competencies in three domains identified by University of Chicago Researchers as critical for success in adulthood (Nagaoka et al, 2015): Self Regulation, Relationship skill, and Self-Expression & Identity.

P.S. Arts Our programs intro

2021-2022 Program Beneficiaries

25,000 students received in-school arts education instruction, including 700 remote learners

5,000 students participated in in-person summer arts programs

2,500 students were given Visual Arts stARTer Kits including supplies

1,500 students and adults attended a Family Art Night, including 750 virtual attendees

1,500 students participated in IOCA and other extended learning programs

500 classroom teachers received virtual arts integration coaching

P.S. ARTS in the Press

In response to the recently leaked racist comments by Los Angeles City Council members, P.S. ARTS stands firmly...
Live theater is back at Walgrove Elementary School and was kicked off with an incredible performance of Disney’s...
After 14 years of dedicated service, P.S. ARTS CEO Dr. Kristen Paglia recently announced her transition out of...

Why We Need the Arts

With 2.7 million jobs in California that are generated in the creative industry in 2020 alone [ 1 ], the arts should be a clear priority in California public education.

However, despite the research that indicates numerous benefits associated with arts education, California public schools continue to cut back on arts programming due to continually shrinking budgets, competing priorities, and limited discretionary funding. As a result, the quality and frequency of arts education in our state’s public schools is highly variable.

Decades of research verifies participation in the arts increases social and emotional health, readiness to learn, academic achievement, and long-term career success (see Bowen & Kisida, 2019; Catterall et al, 2012; Deasy et al, 2002). Recently released findings from a national study following 30,000 children from pre-K to 8th grade found youth affected by poverty and racism.

English learners, and those with disabilities markedly benefit from arts education (Winsler et al, 2020), though these are also the students least likely to have arts opportunities in California schools (CA Arts Education Data Project, 2021). While equitable access to arts education in our state has decreased at an alarming rate since P.S. ARTS’ founding 30 years ago (CA Arts Education Data Project, 2021), P.S. ARTS has grown from providing 250 students with music classes, to serving more than 25,000 students, teachers, and parents with music, art, theater, dance, professional development, and community arts experiences across California.

[ 1 ] Prepared for the OTIS College of Art and Design by the L.A. Economic Development Corporation. (2020). OTIS Report on the Creative Economy.

[ 2 ] Arts Education Partnership [AEP]. (2002). Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development.

[ 3 ] Arts Education Partnership [AEP]. (2002). Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development.

P.S. Arts our impact program evaluation

Program Evaluation

P.S. ARTS engages outside evaluators to provide non-biased quantitative program evaluation. Most recently, in June 2014, renowned arts researcher Dr. James Catterall completed a two-year study on the impact of P.S. ARTS programs on students’ development of “creative thinking, behavior, and motivation in the arts, sciences, writing, and social problem-solving. ”The study included 300 4th and 5th grade students participating in the P.S. ARTS rotational classroom studio program. Findings show participation in P.S. ARTS programs is associated with significant gains in students’ ability to:

  • Express complex ideas accurately and clearly
  • Solve problems creatively
  • Collaborate and empathize with others
  • Take initiative to produce ideas, designs, and products that are novel and valuable

Three independent research studies have confirmed the positive impact of the P.S. ARTS Inside Out Community Arts extended learning program, including an earlier study led by Dr. James Catterall,[1] and a survey analysis conducted through Cal Polytechnic University with funding from the Eisner Foundation.

The 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.”

[ 1 ] Independent evaluation reports of the Inside Out Community Arts extended learning program:

  1. Catterall, James. (Winter, 2006). Inside Out’s School Project: A research report measuring the power of a theatre-based program for at-risk junior high students. Teaching Theatre.
  2. Joseph, Rebecca & Estrella, Rachel. (2003). Inside Out Community Arts’ The School Project: Helping Students Construct Individual and Collective Change. A Qualitative Case Study Evaluation. Funded by the California Arts Council.
  3. Inside Out Program Evaluation: Participant Project Survey Analysis. (2001). Steven Frieze, Director of Institutional Research and Planning at Cal Polytechnic University, Pomona, funded by the Eisner Foundation.


Partner districtS

P.S. Arts Alhambra Unified

Alhambra Unified

P.S. Arts Compton Unified

Compton Unified

P.S. Arts El Segundo Unified

El Segundo Unified

P.S. Arts Lawndale Elementary

Lawndale Elementary

P.S. Arts our impact, Lennox


P.S. Arts Los Angeles Unified

Los Angeles Unified

P.S. Arts Lynwood Unified

Lynwood Unified

P.S. Arts Paramount Unified

Paramount Unified

P.S. Arts Reef Sunset Unified

Reef-Sunset Unified

P.S. Arts Santa Monica-Malibu Unified

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified

P.S. Arts Torrance Unified 
School District

Torrance Unified School District

P.S. Arts Wiseburn Elementary

Wiseburn Elementary


Your support is critical to the ongoing success and excellence of our arts education programs.