The sounds of Salsa blasted near downtown Los Angeles’s Skid Row on Saturday evening, and the unlikely area was busy with valet drivers who attended to those who presented themselves at the Inner-City Arts 20th anniversary celebration.
It so happens that in that humble part of downtown stands one of the best things the city of LA offers to its young people. The Inner-City Arts complex has served as an art oasis for at-risk children ranging from elementary school to high school age for the past 20 years. It began with Bob Bates, who was willing to dedicate his time to teach youngsters, and the financial support of real estate developer Irwin Jaeger. What started as instruction for 60 students, in the course of two decades became an institution that has helped 150,000 children from 55 different schools and received the support of 5,500 teachers.
For the 20th anniversary celebration, the building was decorated with art work created especially for the evening by the children who benefit from its program. Those in attendance were able to tour the premises, enjoy the photography work and paintings displayed, consume food and drink, watch dance performances by the Enio Cordoba Latin dance team and the Versa-Style hip-hop troupe, and move a bit themselves to the music of Salsa band Orquesta Son y Clave and DJs Kenny and Esco.
Inner-City Arts works in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District and is supported by grants and the generosity of a long list of donors. It is the program’s intention to continue serving the LA young population with music, dance, and arts education and open to them the possibilities of hope, accomplishments, and a brighter future.