Inside Out Community Arts


Transforming the lives of youth in underserved communities through arts and media education.
Through visual arts, performing arts, and media workshops, Inside Out Community Arts promotes healthy interaction among diverse, at-risk and underserved Los Angeles middle-school and high school youth. Led by both specially trained teams of professional artists and high school age mentors, Inside Out bridges cultural, geographic, socioeconomic and differently-abled boundaries to support youth in creating and presenting topical theater, art and media. Our goal is to empower youth with the tools, confidence and inspiration to make a positive difference in their communities and the world … from the inside out.


Inside Out’s flagship program, The School Project, was created in response to a need for violence-prevention after school programs for middle school youth after the civil unrest of 1992. The program’s dramatic success led to the founding of Inside Out Community Arts in 1996. Since then, Inside Out has been providing multidisciplinary theater-arts and media based programs to middle school and high school youth from disadvantaged communities throughout Los Angeles County. We see these critical years as a fork in the road—a time when children are making serious choices and a time when—with the right support—they can make good decisions.
Inside Out’s violence-prevention/intervention arts education programs utilizes a research-proven, standards-based curriculum that has won multiple awards, most notably The Coming Up Taller Award, presented to Inside Out in the White House in 2005. Research and our own surveys confirm that our programs provide life-changing benefits that can significantly improve young peoples’ lives and, in turn, their communities.


Our free after-school programs immerse middle and high school youth in a spectrum of theatre, movement, arts and media based curricula.

Inside Out’s programs: provide diverse youth in the Los Angeles County area with social and artistic skills and an understanding of theatre; build self-esteem and empower youth as valuable members of the community by writing and performing plays about issues of concern to them; develop interpersonal conflict resolution skills and foster compassion, tolerance and respect; address the California Department of Education’s Theatre Content and English-Language Arts Standards; increase access to services through community outreach and cross-referral with other local youth agencies; strengthen family communication and foster arts involvement through parent/youth arts activities; provide leadership opportunities for high school youth interested in the arts; and promote community building among a broader segment of local residents through free public performances.

The School Project is operated by professional Artist Leaders, trained in youth development, in a nationally award-winning, research-proven theatre-based curriculum that adheres to the California Theatre Content and English-Language Arts Standards. The artist-to-child ratio in all our programs is approximately 1:6, which is a ratio we are proud to offer our students. Sessions culminate with free public presentations of participants’ original plays, artwork and films.

Since our inception, Inside Out has directly served more than 4,500 youth, and reached over 63,000 community members through our programs. Thousands more have been reached through collaborative community events. Currently, we offer our programs in seven schools and three community centers.

Within each of our programs we assemble groups of youth who are not only diverse racially and ethnically, but who may also be differently abled and/or have behavioral, academic and language differences. In addition, our programs bridge geographic boundaries to bring together kids from different parts of the city and, often, rival gang territories. By bringing together young people who otherwise might never interact, our programs promote tolerance, understanding and respect for each other and all peoples. Approximately, eighty-five percent of our participants are from low-income families that qualify for public assistance. Each year we serve over three hundred children and, with the support of our community, we continue to expand…

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