Pro Arts strives to strengthen innovation in arts education. Our goal is to encourage change and growth through art in the lives of students, teachers and our community. Youth Arts experiences are geared towards youth development and enhancing school curriculum.
With each passing year, Pro Arts Youth Program continues to respond to the scarcity of arts resources and provide continuity and connectivity to community arts. Our Youth Arts program is accessible at schools OUSD calls “high stress areas”, districts, 4, 5, and 6. The majority of Oakland youth live in poverty and lack access to service and programs that Youth Arts provides. Annually, Youth Arts directly engages 1,000 youth ages 4 – 18 years (70 Youth Fellows, 300 middle school students, and over 650 TK – 5th grade students), and more than 200 family members. Our high school outreach engages an additional 300 students in classroom presentations introducing artistic practices, and stimulating interest in the arts. Youth Arts provides skill development and exposure to opportunities that support social and economic mobility. Participant demographics are 25% African American, 15% Asian/ Pacific Islander, and 60% Hispanic/Latino. Participating youth represent traditional under-served populations and reflect the diverse cultural communities in Oakland and partnering schools. To reflect Oakland’s youth, 75% of our teaching artists represent communities of color.
Current Pro Arts’ Art in Schools Programs:
Youth Fellows (High School): Youth Fellows integrated arts education, exhibition opportunities, professional arts training and youth development in five Oakland High Schools. In 2016, Youth Fellows Arts served 60 youth at Fremont, Oakland, Oakland Unity, Skyline and Lighthouse Community Charter Schools. Residencies ran twelve weeks from January through April, 2016.
Teaching Artist Residency (Middle School): In 2015-16, Pro Arts ran Teaching Artist Residencies consisting of in-school and after-school instruction at Alliance Academy and Elmhurst Community Prep. The Artist Residencies ran throughout the academic year and served more than 100 students.
Arts Integration Residencies (TK-8 at Sankofa Academy): Arts Integration Residencies (Grades TK – 8) introduced art-making processes with an emphasis on collaborative teaching. In 2015-16, residencies were held one hour a week for eight weeks and served 300 students at Sankofa Academy.
Arts Integration Residencies (TK): Pro Arts provided teacher training for TK teachers and piloted year-long TK artist residencies. In 2015-16 eighteen week arts integration residencies served 13 classrooms and about 325 students across 14 Oakland schools. Arts Integration Residencies in TK classes emphasized the creation of dynamic and collaborative learning communities for teachers and students. Sessions focused on content areas introduced by classroom teachers to respond to and reinforce student learning. The Teaching Artist led students through visual thinking strategies, such as “I see, I think, I wonder”, to orient and introduce lessons. Students explored content areas as well as a range of materials and media. Each session concluded with review and student reflection.
In the 2015-16 school year, Pro Arts expanded its artist residencies from fifteen (15) to twenty two (22) Oakland public schools. Our programs expanded from serving 800 students to over 1,000 students in 22 Oakland schools and 8 public libraries. We produced two (2) school-based art exhibitions for students and families. Pro Arts awarded 60 Youth Fellowships to Oakland High School students and exhibited their work. We coordinated scholarships for 10 students to attend Pre-College Art Classes.