artworxLA celebrates its 25th Annual Evening of Art

On May 11th, artworxLA raised over $217,000 during its 25th Annual Evening of Art. With the support of a powerful community of committed individuals, artworxLA was able to send a resounding message that the arts can provide life-lasting opportunities for at-risk students in Los Angeles. This spectacular event, led by Gala MC and artworxLA student Dominique Lawhead, helped honor Film Producer Matt Tolmach, Filmmaker, Entrepreneur, and Activist Paige Goldberg Tolmach, and Author and Actress Octavia Spencer. We thank them for their tireless efforts in supporting the arts and celebrate their commitment to artworxLA.

Thanks to everyone who came to support us doing our 25th Annual Evening of Art. We look forward to seeing each of our guests next year as we celebrate our 26th Annual Evening of Art.


artworxLA Honors Matt Tolmach and Paige Goldberg Tolmach


awxLA: What role does art and creativity play in your career?

PGT: Well, the truth is, my most important and satisfying job right now is being a mom. and honestly, creativity plays a huge role. my son is a natural storyteller (like his crazy parents!) and my job is to nurture that in him and allow him the space and freedom to tell his own stories.

my second job these days is being a documentary filmmaker and although my job is to document the truth, I have to constantly think of creative ways to present that truth. the stories I want to tell are hard ones to hear. if I don't attempt to tell them in a digestible way, no one will ever see them.

awxLA: What it's like to be part of the creative industry?

PGT: I'm not really in the industry like I used to be but I still feel like I am because matt is in deep! I love talking about projects with him, reading his scripts and watching his movies. I even love being on set -- it's thrilling for me. I think I'm basically still that little girl in the living room who wants to be moved and enlightened by characters and stories.

 awxLA: What are some of the challenges you faced as you worked towards your creative career?

PGT: It tends to get completely connected to the people I interview and become consumed with their stories and their sadness. I think the mom in me wants to reach out and tell everyone that it will be ok and I will help them get through it. but I have to keep reminding myself that that's not my job as a storyteller. my job is to hear them and see them exactly as they are and share their truth with the world so that others can hear and see them as well.

awxLA: Share some advice you would give to anyone going into your career field?

PGT: Pick up a camera and start documenting the world. there is beauty in every person and every place and wonderful stories worth sharing come from the most surprising places.

awxLA: What about your work connects you to artworxLA and our students?

PGT: I went to a pretty fancy, private high school in the south. but I was never, ever inspired. I am so taken with the beautiful, brave and inspirational young people I have met at artworkLA. I wish that I had known people like that when I was young. I think I would have had the guts to start being a filmmaker much sooner

artworxLA Honors Octavia Spencer

We are thrilled to announce that we will be honoring Academy Award-winning actress and author Octavia Spencer at our 25th Annual Evening Of Art! With the 89th Oscars being only days away, Octavia took a moment to share how the arts have illuminated and guided her towards a career as an actress.

Interview with 2017 Gala Honoree:
Octavia Spencer
Actress & Author

awxLA: What role does art and creativity play in your career?

OS: Art is creativity and as an actor, it would be difficult for me to imagine one without the other.

awxLA: What inspired you to pursue a creative career?

OS: I think art is innate, inherent.  While I have an affinity for other disciplines, I believe I'm truly designed for this. It's my DNA.

awxLA: What is it like to be part of the creative industry?

OS: Being an actor is beautifully exhausting, and yet wildly exhilarating. It's a wonderful way to meet people from disparate backgrounds who share a common interest.

awxLA: What are some of the challenges you faced as you worked towards your creative career?

OS: One of the biggest challenges I faced was access to great material; however, time, persistence, and relationships changed that. 

awxLA: Share some advice to anyone going into your career field. 

OS: Train. Never ever get tired of honing your technique.

awxLA: What about your work connects you to artworxLA and our students?

OS: I was introduced to artworxLA by a couple of your board members that I've actually worked with on film sets. It was exciting to learn that we shared a common interest in motivating students via art. 

PBS SoCal Presents I, Too, Am America

We are America! Yesterday, our atworxLA students joined LA Times HS Insider, PBS SoCal’s Student Reporting labs, and Mendez High School students for the presentation of I, Too, Am America. Presented at We Work in downtown Los Angeles, this presentation shared student works centered around election issues. Through poetry, film, photography, illustration, music, and performance, each student hoped to share their experiences and perspectives with members of their communities.

The James Irvine Foundation Grant

artworxLA is pleased to announce that we are the recipients of a $268,000 18-month grant from The James Irvine Foundation. With funding from the Foundation, artworxLA will begin an extensive planning exercise to develop a Creative Careers Pathway Model for three new Arts Academies with solid structures and pathways to living-wage employment in three growth sectors of L.A’s creative economy: Fashion, Music/Entertainment, and Design/Publishing.

artworxLA thanks the James Irvine Foundation for promoting the creative and economic success of our vulnerable Los Angeles teenagers.

KAA DESIGN’s Art Exhibit + Sale Raises Over $30k for artworxLA Students

Architects, film-makers, and designers, came together on December 1st to support our students during KAA DESIGN’s Art Exhibit + Sale. Held at the spectacular KAA DESIGN office, the event featured exclusive jewelry, paintings, and photography from artworxLA students, KAA staff, and local artists. The event generated over $30,000 to support artworxLA’s work using the arts to combat LA’s high school dropout crisis. We are thankful to each person who joined this spectacular evening of art, especially our Board Chair Grant Kirkpatrick and his team at KAA DESIGN, for supporting our program and our students’ creative talents. 

The National Guild Honors Cynthia Campoy Brophy

Our Executive Director, Cynthia Campoy Brophy, was honored last week in Chicago at the National Guild for Community Arts Education 2016 Conference for Community Arts Education. This conference brought over 800 leaders—staff, teaching artists, trustees, students, and our partners in other sectors— to explore innovative ideas and practical strategies for growing programs, securing financial support, and increasing impact and participation.

Cynthia was one of seven community arts education leaders who were honored with the National Guild’s Milestone Certificate of Appreciation for their long-standing, exceptional service to the field. The Milestone program recognizes leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to supporting and advancing community arts education for more than 20 years.

artworxLA Students Wrap Fall 2016 Public Presentations


Look at what our students have accomplished! artworxLA students from across Los Angeles presented art from their Fall 2016 workshops to live audiences at the Los Angeles Theatre, the Skirball Cultural Center and the Los Angeles Public Library. Motivated by the themes "Preserving Your LA: People and Places That Matter", "Civic Engagement: Democracy In Action", and "Weathering The Storm: Building Resilient Communities", each artworxLA student shared their own personal understanding of these topics and related it to their own lives. Each creative expression explored through these topics enriched our student’s knowledge of issues impacting their neighborhoods and presented them methods to best foster change within their communities. Congratulations artworxLA students!

Thank you Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles Conservancy, TaskForce, and Los Angeles Public Library for inspiring our students.

artworxLA is Part of a National Dialogue


artworxLA continues to be part of a national dialogue on arts education and community engagement, and this month has been a busy one for our team!

As a part of our multi-year grant from the Fund for Shared Insight / Listen for Good initiative, Raul Flores, artworxLA Artistic Director, and Cynthia Campoy Brophy, artworxLA Executive Director, were in Washington, D.C. last week to present progress on our evaluation efforts and connect with national grantees. Fund for Shared Insight is a collaborative effort among foundations that pools financials and other resources to improve philanthropy.

artworxLA was recommended for the Listen for Good grant by the Weingart Foundation and was awarded $60,000 over two years to incorporate student voice more deeply into our evaluation process.