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Art Attacks

Creative Acts

A fiscally sponsored group

We will use it to help incarcerated young people discover the value of their voice, the importance of participating in civic engagement through voting and connecting with organizations who are affecting change in their communities. We create community art, spoken word and poetry to engage and inspire them to change their narratives about who they are and the impact they have. Our pilot program showed an 86% rise in voting for participants and facilitated deep connections between our incarcerated youth and the organization March for Our Lives.

Vote for this proposal

Vote by Monday, June 15, 2020. You can cast five votes, one per goal category. Learn more about public voting.



Please describe the mission of your organization.

We seek to transform the most pressing social justice issues through the revolutionary power of the Arts; to heal trauma, build community, raise power and amplify the voices of the most marginalized to change commonly held narratives and improve opportunities for our most impacted communities.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Pilot project or new program

What is the need you’re responding to?

When introducing AB 2477 in 2017, ensuring that people incarcerated in jails and juvenile detention facilities in California can exercise their right to vote, Asm Shirley Weber emphasized, “Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism.” In response, Creative Acts piloted the ‘Art Attacks’ program in all County Juvenile Facilities (Children’s Prisons). Our students come from communities of color, backgrounds of low socio-economic status, and lives defined by gangs and institutionalization. Our goal was to show them the power of their vote and connect them to leaders in civic engagement so that their organizations can benefit from the input and participation of the most systems impacted people in their communities. 86% of our participants voted in the May 2018 elections. Expanding the program now will help increase those numbers among the most impacted communities in both local and national elections at this crucial time.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Creative Acts founder Sabra Williams created The Actors’ Gang Prison Project in 2005, and has over 15 years of experience teaching adults and youth behind bars. In addition, the Art Attacks program employs teaching artists who are experienced working with incarcerated youth as well as alumni who have a shared experience of incarceration with our students.The program’s multi-disciplinary arts-based approach offers us the greatest opportunity to meaningfully engage young people. We created this approach because of an understanding of the power of the Arts to create a safe space to heal trauma and to engender deep, non-direct learning. This understanding evolved from fifteen years of bringing arts programming into prison and reentry settings, backed up by research and evidence, documented by mental health professionals and nationally renowned researchers. Our experience with this type of programming makes us uniquely qualified to engage in this work.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

650
Direct impact
3,000
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Our Education system is not built to support children dealing with extreme violence & trauma so we lock them up. But given creative ways to learn these young people start to realize their power and importance. Over 95% of them will return to become our neighbors. We ask what kind of neighbors do we want? Hardened traumatized young people who only know how to act from anger or young people coming back who are on the road to healing & able to make valuable change in their communities by civic participation? They can be our future leaders. They can participate in creating a more inclusive, connected Los Angeles that does not discard people because of what they have suffered & includes them in decisions that will change our culture and city.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

The immediate goals of Art Attacks are to increase voter turnout among incarcerated and formerly incarcerated young people, connect systems impacted people to organizations whose work directly affects their communities and help them gain leadership roles in these organizations, connect systems impacted youth with alumni of the program to facilitate dialogue in these communities, and amplify the voices of these too-long ignored populations. Through the LA County Probation department we were able to track voting records of our students in our pilot program and will strive to continue to do so. We also hope to work with Probation to employ a mental health expert who can compile an impact report of the program. And finally, we always create in and out surveys for our students. Because our students are minors, their records are expunged upon release and we are unable to track them through Probation long-term. However, we have a strong alumni community that we intend to build upon moving forward and together with the partnership with March For Our Lives, we have the best chance of being able to continue our relationship with our alumni and develop teaching artists from the pool of young activists and systems-impacted youth for a long-term impact.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Neighborhood council participation
  • Voting rates

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to PLAY

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support

Vote for this proposal

Vote by Monday, June 15, 2020. You can cast five votes, one per goal category. Learn more about public voting.


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