Call for Artists

Turnaround Arts: California seeks artists and/or community arts organizations to create collaborative, public art projects (e.g. murals and other installations) with elementary and middle schools across the state in the 2021-22 school year.

Participating schools are located in the following communities:

  • Hoopa Valley (Humboldt County)
  • Seaside (Monterey County)
  • May include: Watts, Compton, Cudahy, Lynwood, Paramount (Los Angeles County)
  • Santa Ana (Orange County)

Artists and/or Community Arts Partners will be selected on the basis of their qualifications, as demonstrated by:

  • Quality of their past projects and proposal documents
  • Experience working effectively in collaboration with young people, education-based organizations or schools.
  • Connection, and commitment to, centering and uplifting Black and Brown communities through artistic engagement

Turnaround Arts: California is committed to investing in the communities our schools are located. Organizations and artists that identify as BIPOC and/or come from the same communities as the schools are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please see this document for the submission process, timeline and compensation and other details. Submissions due Friday, November 15.

3 New Schools Join our Statewide Network

Turnaround Arts: California is thrilled to add three partner schools to our statewide network of 26 schools, leveraging the arts to support whole-school transformation. Please join us in welcoming Westlake Middle in Oakland, Los Cerritos Elementary in Paramount, and Washington Elementary in Lynwood!

The arts are being called upon to boost student engagement while supporting the wellbeing of students, teachers and families who have been dealing with significant challenges over the past year. The multi-year Turnaround Arts program provides teachers and principals with individualized coaching and training to help them build and implement a school-wide vision for the arts. This includes support and training to help teachers integrate the arts into core academic subjects, as well as arts resources, funding, and project planning support to help schools partner with community-based arts organizations for projects that engage the broader school community. As part of the partnership, school districts also commit to ensuring that every student receives 45 minutes of standalone arts instruction weekly.

“We look forward to working with these three new schools. It is now more important than ever to provide culturally responsive arts experiences in which students feel seen and honored. Arts Education empowers students, teachers and principals – it is foundational to learning and enables personalized instruction and promotes social and emotional wellness.” – Malissa Shriver, Turnaround Arts: CA Co-founder


Meet Our New Partner Schools:

Westlake Middle School – Oakland
A 6th – 8th grade school, Westlake serves 313 students with 100% qualifying for free or reduced price lunch. According to Principal Maya Taylor, “Westlake is a diverse school community and the arts provide a perfect way to make learning visible and accessible for all while supporting our most vulnerable students in expressing themselves and finding their voice. In partnership with Turnaround Arts: California, we hope to strengthen relationships between students and teachers, engage families in student learning, and build student pride in their school community.”

Los Cerritos Elementary School – Paramount
A Pre-K – 5th grade school, Los Cerritos serves 486 students with 90% qualifying for free or reduced price lunch. Principal Hilda Mapp shares, “This past year has been challenging for our students and teachers. We are thrilled to partner with Turnaround Arts: California to strategically use the arts to provide a sense of structure and safety, promote wellness, and build collaboration between students and teachers.”

 


Washington Elementary School – Lynwood

A Pre-K – 6th grade school, Washington Elementary serves 621 students with 100% qualifying for free or reduced price lunch. Principal Sandra Verduzco shares, “We believe that the arts will create many opportunities for our students and provide them with an education that teaches them how to work collaboratively, builds their confidence, and stimulates their creativity and uniqueness. Our school team looks forward to working in partnership with Turnaround Arts to build high-value arts assets to strategically address our school’s biggest needs.”

 


Los Cerritos and Washington join a cohort of six Turnaround Arts: California (TACA) schools located in communities adjacent to the LA River. In partnership with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Gehry Partners, and local school districts, TACA is serving as an education component of the Los Angeles River Master Plan, a comprehensive vision to invest in the LA River and its surrounding communities.

“These are three things that can help strengthen our communities: Education is the fundamental building block of everything we want to create in California. Arts are an expression of where we come from and where we want to go. The LA River ties all of our communities together and the Master Plan gives us a way to make the river a recreational, cultural, environmental and economic asset for the people who live in those communities today. These schools joining with Turnaround Arts? I can’t think of a better way than that to exemplify those three goals.” – Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the CA State Assembly

“We look forward to welcoming these new schools, expanding young people’s access to the arts, and to developing their own distinctive voice. Currently, the LA River cuts through communities where the opportunity gap for these kids is large. We are trying to use our work along the river to not only to provide critical water and environmental relief to these cities, but to also enliven the arts and cultural assets that already exist in the region. Education is key and my hope is that expanding the Turnaround Arts network here will result in greater opportunity for more people in this very special part of LA County.” – Frank Gehry, Renowned Architect and Turnaround Arts: CA Co-founder

Standing in Solidarity with the AAPI Community

“You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.”
-Grace Lee Boggs, Chinese-American Author and Activist

Turnaround Arts California condemns the attacks against Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) across the United States. There have been over 3,800 documented anti-Asian hate incidents between March 2020-February 2021, 45% occurred in California, 13% against youth ages 12-17, and 5% occurring at school. There are many additional cases that are misclassified, ignored or unreported. This month’s murders in Atlanta of 8 people, 6 of which were Asian Americans, sits at the intersection of gender-based, class-based and race-based violence. We all deserve to feel safe and live without the threat of violence in our daily lives.

As educators and artists, we must play an active role in combating bias and bigotry especially in our schools. When students experience negative stereotyping in school, it can impair self-perception and student performance. That AAPI students are often subjected to positive stereotyping in the “model minority” myth, does not exclude them from psychological harm and impaired student engagement and performance. As with other racialized groups, Asian American is an umbrella term that covers broad and diverse peoples, overlooking vastly uneven trajectories and educational outcomes. We commit to repudiating violence and harassment on the basis of race, class, gender, sexual orientation or ability. We know that the arts help students develop self-knowledge and empathy, and support school community-building around our shared humanity, and we will continue to support our partner schools to ensure that all of our students, families and staff are represented, included, and celebrated in their school community.

Recommended Resources:

Impact Spotlight: Using the Arts to Build Student Engagement in Remote Learning

Barbara Bowman is a 6th grade Social Studies teacher at Zamboni Middle School in Paramount, CA, one of our partner schools along the LA River as part of the river revitalization project. In the years since Zamboni first became a Turnaround Arts: California (TACA) partner school, Barbara has demonstrated her commitment to exploring new ways of teaching with the arts at the center. She serves on the school’s Arts Leadership Team, responsible for developing and implementing their school-wide strategies around the arts.

Barbara admits she is a technological dinosaur, so when school moved to a virtual environment in March 2020 she was feeling daunted. Thanks to her school’s support she was able to quickly get the hang of the new technology. However, Barbara was not prepared for the challenge of student engagement. She shared, “My classes were poorly attended. I struggled with identifying the reasons and was determined to do everything in my power to reach my students.” 

With the support of TACA Regional Coach Partner, P.S. ARTS, Barbara collaborated with her fellow social studies teachers and developed lesson plans for remote learning that integrated the arts. Teachers were immediately excited by the results. “The word was out—students loved incorporating the arts, and online attendance grew! Additionally, teacher confidence in integrating the arts into class lessons improved. As a group, we all felt inspired to pursue professional development in this area in the coming year.”

Responding to the call from our partner schools requesting more support to integrate the arts into remote learning, TACA rapidly developed a series of virtual professional development trainings in the Spring of 2020. Barbara was excited to attend the first one, Building Community in a Social Distancing Era. She shared, “I was determined to take advantage of opportunities to bolster my professional development in utilizing the arts to enhance my online teaching, and I was excited by what I learned from this workshop.” Barbara utilized the Visual Thinking Strategies* techniques from the workshop with her students in an English Language Arts lesson on the Titanic. “During the lesson, many students again attended and participated (both verbally and via chat), and all were highly engaged!” Barbara continued to attend subsequent workshops and has been excitedly trying out the new arts integration strategies with her students.

“When social distancing began, I felt very unsure how to best reach my students. Learning to infuse my online teaching with art using strategies from Turnaround Arts: California has helped me overcome my fears of technology and enhanced my teaching, as well as increased student attendance and engagement. I want to thank TACA for providing these enriching opportunities. I have no doubt I am a better educator as a result.”

Cultural Symbols created by Ms. Bowman’s students during an arts integrated social studies lesson

*Visual Thinking Strategies is a long-time partner of Turnaround Arts: California. The technique supports teachers in facilitating discussions of visual art that significantly increase student engagement, performance, and enjoyment of learning.

Results From Our Annual Teacher Survey

Annually we survey teachers at our 24 partner schools across the state to understand the impacts of the Turnaround Arts program on their work as teachers, their school as a whole, and the impact they are seeing on their students. We also collect data to inform our progress toward our four Priorities for Improvement Through the Arts (PITA):

  1. Cultivate shared vision and collaborative school leadership in and through the arts.
  2. Improve teacher capacity to integrate the arts into classroom instruction to provide multiple, culturally and linguistically responsive entry points for learning.
  3. Through the arts, build a positive culture and climate that embraces equity and growth mindset, in order to support risk-taking, collaboration, and empathy, and to honor student voice and agency. 
  4. Engage family and community members as participants, advocates, volunteers, and equitable partners in learning.

We received 587 anonymous responses from faculty across our 24 partner schools and found the following results:

Shared leadership in and through the arts

86% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their school uses a shared leadership approach to the arts.

“Turnaround Arts has allowed for me to have a lot of leadership within the school. I have loved learning new teaching practices, learning how to partner with teaching artists and how to truly integrate arts into not only my classroom, but my school.”

Teacher capacity to integrate the arts into the classroom

82% of respondents agree or strongly agree that support and training for teachers in the arts is ongoing and embedded at their school. Additionally, 88% of respondents integrated the arts into classroom instruction at least once a month, and 52% integrated at least once a week. 

I am a veteran teacher. The Arts have completely changed the way I teach. I have moved from lecturer to facilitator. My students are expected to use communication, creativity and collaboration to learn from each other. I model what is expected and give them the opportunity to develop their learning from each other and from group cooperation. I am excited to tell you that I have been reborn to teaching. I feel great growing critical 21st century thinkers.”

Additionally, 98% of teachers reported that the arts had a positive or very positive impact on students this year at their school. In particular, teachers reported improved learning, including comprehension, retention, and critical thinking skills; social emotional learning, including self-confidence, collaboration skills, community-building, and willingness to take risks; and excitement, joy and fun. About a third of teachers wrote specifically about how the arts benefit specific student populations for whom school is not traditionally designed:

Students who have trouble demonstrating their understanding through words found it easier to show what they knew by using art strategies. For instance, a student who couldn’t write a paragraph to describe how a character felt, used shadow puppets to display their thinking.

The arts have given my students a voice and a platform in which they feel equal to their peers and are able to express themselves.

Culture and Climate

90% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their school’s atmosphere and culture celebrates creativity and artistic achievement.

“[Turnaround Arts: CA has] changed everything for the better! It’s a new lens of support that is meant to strengthen everything from students’ social emotional needs, academic, and community engagement. As a school we integrate the arts in our school and community culture. I have learned so many tools from my mentor. When I applied these strategies in my own classroom I saw tremendous bounds in my students abilities in every area. This partnership has also helped strengthen our bond with our community who love to come onto campus and see our beautiful art!!”

Family and Community Engagement

88.5% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their school regularly engages families through the arts. This question was asked for the first time this year.

“I know with distance learning the arts provided a way to engage the whole family and to bring joy to my students during a stressful time.

We thank our partner schools for their participation in this survey! It is a good indicator that our partnerships with schools is shifting culture, leadership, and instruction in a positive direction. Teachers are teaching in new ways, and as a result, see their students engaging in new ways. The arts are creating school cultures that welcomes families, celebrates creativity and builds community.

Turnaround Arts: CA + The LA River

In partnership with Speaker Anthony Rendon, Frank Gehry, and Gehry Partners, Turnaround Arts: California is proud to play a role in the Los Angeles River revitalization*. In 2018, we began partnerships with five schools along the LA River helping school leadership strategically use the arts to build equity and access for students, transform the school’s culture and climate, and engage family and community members. These partnerships are ongoing and we have plans to continue expanding to new schools in the coming years.

Meet one of our partner schools in Cudahy, Ellen Ochoa Learning Center, in the video below. Renowned Architect and Turnaround Arts: CA Co-founder Frank Gehry, visited with his team of architects to help students envision the future of their community through the arts.

Our Partner Schools along the LA River:
Abbott Elementary – Lynwood
Ellen Ochoa Learning Center – Cudahy
Tweedy Elementary – South Gate
Whaley Middle School – Compton
Zamboni Middle School – Paramount

*The LA River revitalization project integrates design and infrastructure to bring people, water, and nature together across all 51 miles of the LA River. Learn more at riverla.org.

Hope Builders: Barton Elementary

A Turnaround Arts: California Partner School since 2014, Barton Elementary shows how the arts can transform a struggling school into a vibrant and engaging place for students to learn and explore their creativity. Since joining the Turnaround Arts program, Barton has seen their English Language Arts proficiency rate increase by 98%, suspension rates have decreased 11%, and chronic absenteeism has decreased by 15.5%.

Thank you to Fay-Hauser Price for directing this beautiful piece on Barton Elementary for KVCR’s Hope Builders series.
Hauslights, LLC at Hauslights@gmail.com

Ways of Looking: Exploring Measurement of School Transformation through the Arts and Social Emotional Learning

On Monday, October 28th Turnaround Arts: California convened thought leaders from the fields of education, the arts, psychology and social emotional learning to discuss ways of looking at the work to better understand key leverage points that increase and demonstrate impact. We welcome you to watch parts one and two of the event below!

Part 1:
Welcome, Context and Framing

Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Co-founder and President, Turnaround Arts: California
Dr. Sarah Bainter Cunningham, Associate Provost for Research and Strategic Partnerships, Rhode Island School of Design
Dr. Akida Kissane Long, Principal Leadership Coach, Turnaround Arts: California
Panel Conversation
Sophie Fanelli (Modertator), President, Stuart Foundation
Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, President, Learning Policy Institute
Dr. Ivonne Chand O’Neal, Principal, MUSE Research
Dr. Steve Seidel, Director, Arts in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Dr. Timothy Shriver, Co-founder, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Part 2: Panelists and Attendees Respond

Daveed Diggs visits Vincent Academy

Vincent Academy in Oakland, CA, launched the 2018-2019 school year as one of 27 Turnaround Arts: California partner schools using the arts to fuel school change efforts. Turnaround Artist Daveed Diggs visited Vincent Academy in celebration of the school’s commitment to leveraging the arts for educational equity.

Willard Dance Team presents: Walls

The Kennedy Center’s National Committee for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in partnership with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts recently presented Satellite Summit: A Long Conversation, featuring a panel discussion on social justice, citizen artistry, and arts education and a special performance by the Willard Intermediate School Dance Team.

Inspired by the 6th-8th grade students’ experiences with immigration, Walls represents the barriers that keep families apart. The piece was choreographed by Irishia Hubbard who works with the school through a partnership with Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center. Willard Intermediate School in the Santa Ana Unified School District partnered with Turnaround Arts: California in 2016 and has been actively using the arts to fuel school change since.

Video: Sandra Selva
Music: www.bensound.com