2018 is artworxLA’s 26th year! What began in 1992 as The HeArt Project became artworxLA in 2013. Over these many years, together we have tapped into the power of the arts to re-engage our most vulnerable teenagers and connect them to LA’s rich network of resources. We have created a pathway for powerful but challenged young people to move from dropping out of high school to re-engaging and re-connecting to the promise of a solid future.
I am tremendously proud of all that we have accomplished together, and it is a perfect time for me to take my leave. I will be stepping down as Executive Director of artworxLA at the end of 2018. I leave a deeply engaged and effective board of directors, a powerful and committed staff, a solid organizational system in place that just received our most favorable independent audit.
I also leave a powerful network of young people who have gone through our program, proudest when I see how they continue to support and encourage each other after they have graduated. I am grateful to the legions of extraordinary teaching artists who have brought their significant talents into our students’ classrooms to nurture their unique creative voices. Our partner classroom teachers and educators have long known of the effectiveness of the arts in a well-rounded education and I am forever grateful for their partnership.
Our dedicated Board of Directors is in place to support a well-planned and thoughtful transition that will best support artworxLA and the students we serve. A committee is in place to usher the organization through this transition, to find the next leader to continue to further our significant mission of combatting LA’s high school dropout problem through the arts.
There are so many stories to celebrate, but let me just smile at a few recent hits of joy. A great perk of doing this work for so long is knowing a community of young people who suddenly are not so young anymore! Within the last few months, a few dear friends who I have now known for 15-20 years have shared their good news. Jose’s wife Claudia is pregnant, Robert got married, Gabriel is applying to get his Master’s degree in social work, Dangela is connecting her students to opportunities at artworxLA, Alfredo just brought in a beautiful art catalogue that features one of his prints that will be exhibited at USC’s Fisher Gallery. What a beautiful community we have.
I have learned many lessons over these 26 years and I will take these next months to reflect on all that I have learned, observed and witnessed. I look forward to this year ahead, to supporting the board and staff through this transition, and to the exciting next chapter of artworxLA.
Thank you for your partnership and support. I look forward to celebrating with you all at our May 10 gala!