artworxLA, formerly The HeArt Project, combats L.A.'s epidemic high school dropout crisis with a long-term, sequential arts program.




artworxLA, formerly The HeArt Project envisions a world where all alternative high school students graduate from high school, thrive into adulthood, and propel all society with their unique creativity.



artworxLA combats the epidemic high school dropout crisis by engaging students in a long-term, sequential arts program offering a pursuable life path that inspires them to stay in school, evolve as unique individuals and flourish as creative adults.

We achieve this by:

  • Creatively educating alternative high school teenagers with sustained arts exposure and immersion

  • Connecting students to a network of peers, artists, cultural partners, higher education, creative industries, and supportive adults

  • Investing human and financial resources around ongoing, persistent student and alumni support

core values.

Alternative high school students are intelligent, creative and powerful people. They possess the capacity to meet the highest expectations and are full of creative impulse.

  • Art is indispensable, enables us to communicate, and inspires an empathetic society.
  • Cultivating effective partnerships between artists, educators and community organizations amplifies our collective impact on the students we serve.
  • Our society is stronger and more inclusive when our students have full and equal access to its resources and can contribute their own voice.
  • Lasting change in our students and communities requires long-term investment.
  • Successful work in the community starts with a creative, participatory and respectful artworxLA workplace.
  • We expect our students to contribute their own voice to the city given full and equal access to its resources.

did you know?

1 out of every 4 students in this country does not graduate from high school with their class. 20,000 students drop out of high school every year in Los Angeles County. 83% of those students are African-American or Latino and come from households living below the poverty line. As high school dropouts, these students will earn $500,000 less over a lifetime than high school graduates and are 6 times more likely to go to jail. But the negative effects of dropout extend well beyond these students and their families. Dropouts cost the state of California $1 billion in lost tax revenues and $1 billion in incarceration costs. Students cite disengagement as the leading in-school factor that causes them to drop out of high school. 

artworxLA uses the arts to re-engage students and help them realize a path toward high school graduation and entry into Los Angeles County’s creative economy.


it means...

small learning environments.

50 students or less, capped at 25 per teacher to allow for personalized attention and individualized instruction. Many students are non-traditional learners.

credit recovery.

Students who have fallen behind (for reasons such as excessively failing classes and/or chronically low attendance) can catch up on credits. They come from high schools with high dropout and low graduation rates. Students receive an individualized courseload according to their needs, and they complete coursework on 80-day contracts.


Many sites are housed in storefronts throughout the city, often sharing spaces and creating partnerships with community based organizations.


Alternative education serves pregnant and parenting teams, individuals returning from juvenile detention camps and halls, probation students, student who have been expelled from district schools, teens who suffer from mental health issues or substance abuse.