Los Angeles’ Skid Row is widely recognized as the homeless capital of the world where thousands of people are without shelter every night. But what is invisible in this equation are the children of the inner city — 30,000 of them living within a two and a half mile radius of downtown Los Angeles. Given the circumstances in which these children live, they are at risk of failing in school and failing in life. The public school system, which should be a safety net and a safe haven for these children, is failing them too. With drastic budget cuts that just keep on coming, public education is bare bones. The arts — which help children learn, thrive and dream — are virtually nonexistent in Los Angeles’ schools.
That’s where Inner-City Arts, a learning oasis in the heart of Skid Row, comes in. First opened in 1989, Inner-City Arts provides free arts instruction by professional teaching artists in specialized studio and theater spaces to elementary, middle and high school students. Creating a bridge between the studio and the classroom, Inner-City Arts draws on the power of arts education to measurably improve academic and personal outcomes for children and youth, especially those students with limited English proficiency.