Inner-City Arts Documentation and Analysis

24 نوفمبر

Inner-City Arts

Documentation Classroom


  • Founded in 1993 by public school administrators Bob Bates and Irwin Jaeger
  • Formed partly in response to California’s Proposition 13, which was added to the state constitution in 1978.  It resulted in several tax caps that virtually eliminated arts education from many California public schools.


  • ICA occupied a small, temporary space for several years. This is similar to many other not-for-profits, but it wasn’t conducive to the learning environment ICA was trying to be.
  • Architect Michael Maltzan collaborated with the ICA team to repurpose an abandoned garage in Los Angeles’s Skid Row.  The finished product is described on the website for MoMA’s “Small Scale, Big Change” page, as “employ[ing] a restrained and unified architectural language of simple, abstracted geometries with accents of bright orange, in which student creativity takes center stage. Highly adaptable interior and exterior spaces are intimate yet airy arenas for kids; tArchitecture of campushe main courtyard is a comfortable environment in which to gather, play, and explore, a haven in a neighborhood whose outdoor space is often unsafe.
  • ICA’s building was designed with community in mind; low, bright white stucco walls communicate the openness of the organization to the community and its commitment to upkeep, even on Skid Row.

What do they do?

  • As stated on their website, ICA’s mission statement is: “Inner-City Arts provides elementary, middle and high school students, many living in Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods, with the tools and skills they need to succeed academically and personally.”
  • ICA works in partnership with many Los Angeles area schools to provide school age children with the only art education they will have during the school day. ICA allows students who are most at risk for academic failure (those with Limited English Proficiency, living in high-poverty areas) to experience academic and personal growth.  ICA’s after school program preoccupies students who might otherwise get involved with gangs or other violent activities.

AnalysisStudents on campus

Information that we would need to gather to understand the negotiations

  • We would have to research the architect who designed the campus as well as the neighborhood that the institution is located in.
  • The area is located in the inner city. Inner cities are usually considered rough parts of town, so it would be necessary to gain information on inner cities, such as the education systems in inner cities, drop out rates, as well as the positive effects of inner city programs like this one.
  • We could also look at how the art benefits the children, not only in academics, but also in the fact that the kids will stay away from bad activities such as gangs and drugs.


13 تعليق to Inner-City Arts Documentation and Analysis


Blacki Li Rudi Migliozzi

ديسمبر 11th, 2010 at 10:20 م

Good job piecing this together.



ديسمبر 13th, 2010 at 4:27 م

Inner-City Arts sounds like a great way for kids to stay involved with their community and stay out of violent activities located throughout the city. Organizations like this one and others could further their cause and perhaps start a scholarship fund or another type of way to help the kids beyond the limits of the walls. I’m also interested in how a program like this operates as a not-for-profit. Does the government help with the construction and payments to keep the building operating?



ديسمبر 13th, 2010 at 4:28 م

^ Emily Lenke



ديسمبر 14th, 2010 at 7:48 م

This sounds like a fabulous program that has evolved from an idea to a fully executed and thought out plan. The architecture of the new building so closely mimics its goals of being a safe and pure haven where those who may not be doing well academically in the inner city public schooling system in which they are apart of; its a place of academic redemption where society’s adolescent ‘pariahs’ have a chance at starting over and finding themselves. White, stucco, walls with big open spaces and windows and outdoors space are all elements of the life that many of these inner city children may not experience daily. The concept of architecture correlating with the purpose of the structure is similar to the 1060 speaker who talked to us about the differing opinions about how orphanages and homes for the impoverished should be designed. The argument was functionalism or aesthetics- where a nicely designed, inviting location may rejuvenate self pride and or act as a means of inspiration in the lives of its inhabitants. I am an advocate for aesthetically designed yet functional buildings similar to the Inner City Arts. The intent and execution are both phenomenal; is this a project specific to California or has it/could it expand to other inner cities with similar issues around the country?



ديسمبر 14th, 2010 at 7:48 م

^comment above by Jasmine Burton of Blinic Design



ديسمبر 15th, 2010 at 3:20 م

This case is really well displayed and this post is well formatted with both basic information as well as intriguing facts about the organization. After reading this I immediately felt like clicking on the source link and finding out more about ICA. However, I wonder how ICA funds its projects and whether or not it in fact is a NGO or not. It is interesting to look at the architecture of the building, as mentioned in BLINIC Design’s comment, because of the fact that it is parallel to the function of the group. Its crisp outer appearance gives the children a first look at how this organization can give them a new clean experiene that they probably will not be able to find anywhere else in their town. I wonder if other cities have a similar program, such as the one formed by ICA, for areas that have the same problem as this one. Also, I am curious to know whether in the future this organization will not only teach the children arts but maybe they will expand it to give them knowledge of the regular school subjects (math, reading, history, science) as well.
-Smruti Keshani



ديسمبر 15th, 2010 at 6:54 م

Yeah, I agree with the above posts, I assume the state does not help this project at all since it cut the spending from the schools in the first place. I know that California has had to cut spending on a lot of projects because of poor leadership and business practice. I am a firm believer that the private sector can always outperform the government and this project is one that I would very much like to further explore. They seem to already have their major expenses furnished including the buildings that house the project.




ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 4:51 م

I was really interested in Inner City Arts. I know at home we have several programs in our neighborhood that are trying to provide a way for kids to be involved in the community and not on the streets. This is such an important organization since it can change children’s lives. I really think their is an importance in the building in which the organization is held in. If the building is interesting to look at it might attract more kids whereas a worn down building might turn children away. I am very interested in how this organization operates as a non-for-profit.



ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 4:52 م

The Architechtures post above is from Hannah



ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 5:25 م

Inner City Arts sounds like a really great program, especially since it helps to cater to children who are at high risk for academic failure. Often these kids drop out and get on the streets; this program gives a wonderful alternative to other after school activities. Your group did a good job researching the project and putting it together; however, I would be interested to know where the funding for this particular project comes from. Is it funded by the public schools themselves or does it come from private donations? Understanding where the funding comes from for a organization or program is important to know.

-JJ Anderson


Old Skool

ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 6:10 م

Bravo. I think this initiative is key to child development and should be embraced by more cities who have lost funding for such programs. Personally, I do not think I would have done as well in school had I not been able to express myself creatively. Writing a paper, solving math problems or regurgitating history can be very redundant. As important as they are, they lack the equivalent inspiration. Whenever I finish up a project never mind the medium used, there is a sense of true accomplishment that is unrivaled. Therefore, a scholastic career that does not enlist creative forces is incomplete and will most likely leave an individual wanting.

~Jason L.


Roark Design

ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 8:29 م

My initial though when reading this was that this idea has been tempered with and explored before on many occasions. It seems that these projects work wonders to give a new vibrancy to small scale neighborhoods and run down communities. However, what are the prospects that projects such as these have the potential to really expand nationally or even globally? This is undoubtedly an excellent idea: art is a great filter through which kids can channel difficulties into something productive and beautiful. I think this project has immense potential, the scale at which it exists now already indicates this. I am curious though as to what are the implications or further negotiations (perhaps newer ones that comes up) in order to really expand this idea. But maybe that’s not necessary? Maybe success is not always defined in expansion and integration. I’m beginning to think that maybe the success and beauty of it is in the small-scale and compactness of the project itself. It’s interesting to explore this idea, should the program expand and thus commercialize? Or should it stay at it’s small, reliable, efficient non-profit neighborhood program. Reading the above posts, I agree with others’ questions about funding though I think the issue concerning architecture is a little more interesting. This raises a question we were introduced to in lecture: should the architecture symbolize the nature of the program, thus effecting an individuality and a special care taken to design and construct the building, or should the form solely follow the function, becoming entirely designed for pragmatic reasons, in a sense disregarding the “unnecessary” details of aesthetic design? I found the possible negotiations on this especially interesting to explore and discuss. All in all, this is a fantastic project that I’m sure will find success in the future.

Shaowen Zhang



ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 8:58 م

Inner City Arts is a very interesting concept, especially because so many schools are experiencing budget cuts in recent years. Any program to help children pursue outlets for their energy is a good, idea, especially since it is outside of school, so the kids may be more drawn to it because many of them are opposed to school related activities, but this is something that would be viewed as something fun and exciting. Providing an outlet for children’s energy is very important, especially in high crime risk areas, because the more activities that are available for children, the less they are likely to engage in activities that are less than legal. The design of the building is effective in creating an open atmosphere, because of the open space, it makes the children feel like they are free to express themselves. Elizabeth Welty

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