Thanks so much to the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs for providing funds for a guitar workshop at John Muir Middle School in South LA, plus another class in painting. Both programs were held during school hours as electives. There were 45 students learning guitar lessons, and 45 more who were taught painting for a total of 90 youth who enjoyed our classes.

Musician Mike Madariaga taught the guitar program. The kids loved learning how to play acoustic guitar. Jereney exclaimed, “I’m now in a band and we’re the ’14 Jokers.’ We wrote an original song and I performed it. I want to keep playing!”

The students got to perform for all their peers at the school. Some of the kids attended Create Now’s Power of the Arts Festival in DTLA on August 3rd and they got to perform at our Talent Show. Tiffany shared, “We wrote and are performing an original song. I thought it would sound like a hurricane! But we all pulled it together for the performance.”

Artist J Michael Walker did a spectacular job of teaching art to underserved students at Muir Middle School. They explored how to paint with watercolors on canvases and sketchpads that Create Now provided (thanks to your donations!).

They learned how to protect, maintain, and clean their brushes; create the color wheel and why; and basic steps in rendering the human face keyed to a 6-to-4 proportion, as well as painting seascapes and fruit.

Students were also exposed to the art and music of famous artists of color. One youth who has a reputation with the teachers of being a challenging “class clown.” This boy insisted that he paint a picture of Nipsey Hussle. With J. Michael’s help, he did a great job!

The teachers were amazed. The principal asked for a photo of the painting to share with all the staff since it was an accomplishment. At the end of the program, students from other classes came to the exhibition of the artwork in the library and some youth wanted to buy their peers artwork. Both of these programs have exposed all the students to their unique talents, and the many options available in Los Angeles for them to continue pursuing  the arts and building new skills.