About

ArtsMatter draws upon a dynamic catalogue of content provided by top artists and creators to produce high-impact arts education programming for Los Angeles schools.

mission statement

Los Angeles is the world capital of media and entertainment, yet most LA County schools do not prepare students to take on jobs in these industries. ArtsMatter addresses these gaps by creating and sharing educational programming based in media arts to increase exposure and access to career pathways and equip students of color with the skills they need for success in the local creative economy.  

ArtsMatter creates standards-based curriculum and instructional materials to be paired with hands-on Professional Development training for teachers to increase student engagement in schools while building teachers’ capacity to integrate arts learning in their classrooms. Trained teachers then become ambassadors in their larger school communities to activate county-wide impact projects to advance media arts education not only in Los Angeles, but in every city across the country. 

History

The LA Promise Fund launched ArtsMatter in October 2012 to address the need for increased arts opportunities and creativity in LAUSD. At the time, only 2% of elementary school instructional time in LAUSD classrooms was being devoted to the arts.

An city-wide outdoor campaign was created featuring inspiring work by contemporary artists including Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari and Shepard Fairey. It raised $1 million to be distributed to various arts partners, including CalArts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Music Center, Mattel, and Urban Arts Partnership to bring more of the arts to more students across Los Angeles County.

In 2016, ArtsMatter once again partnered with the Getty through their Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative. In collaboration with LAUSD's Arts Education Branch, ArtsMatter created the PST: LA/LA Education Program,available to LA County schools during the 2017-18 Academic Year. It included teacher workshops, student field trips and family days at PST: LA/LA exhibitions, a grant program for teachers to activate their larger school communities in arts-making, and a county-wide Student Arts Contest.

Access to all required arts disciplines

Los Angeles County Students

25%

Los Angeles County Schools

12%

Media arts enrollment in schools

High School Students

12%

Middle School Students

1%

Program Pillars

ArtsMatter draws upon a dynamic catalog of content provided by top creators, media companies, arts organizations, and local museums to produce standards-based arts education programming to support Los Angeles students, teachers, and schools.

Team

ArtsMatter has assembled an exceptional team of staff and project consultants to implement the innovative work of Media ArtsMatter and its other pioneering arts integration programs.

Individuals have been selected for their broad experience in standards-based instruction, arts education, student programming, professional development, teacher coaching, and impactful work throughout LA County schools.

Alex Karas

Program Director

Currently Director of Arts Programs at LAPF, Alex oversees the Media ArtsMatter grant program, its staff, consultants, and teachers. Previously, Alex managed a grant that served over 50,000 LA County students and teachers as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. Working with industry partners, Alex has created media arts curricular materials and implemented education programs for LA County teachers and students in media arts. 

Alex has served as a consultant for Davis Publications, training K-12 teachers on visual art curricula and best practices for utilizing digital platforms in the classroom. He previously worked as a program manager at Point Foundation and as a visual arts teacher in Chicago Public Schools. He holds a B.S. in Art Education from the University of Dayton and a M.A. in Teaching and Learning from Roosevelt University.

Kenny Ng

Program Manager

Kenny is the Arts Program Manager at LA Promise Fund, where he facilitates the development of arts education curriculum and projects for LA County schools. He oversees social and digital communications, classroom scheduling, manages Teaching Artists, and oversees LA2030.

Kenny previously worked at 826LA, where he ran writing programs that directly served over 2,500 LAUSD students each school year and created curriculum to help hundreds of teachers spark excitement about writing back in their classrooms. He led student-centered programs that were featured in LA Weekly and the New York Times and believes in the academic value of arts education to offer students of color more opportunities to use and develop their voices in schools. Kenny is also a freelance writer and assists in radio production and communications at KCRW.

Kamella Tate

Principal Investigator

Kamella guides the design, implementation, and management of Media ArtsMatter’s project evaluation. Dr. Tate is owner/principal of Kamella Tate Associates, LLC, a Los Angeles-based firm that provides research, program design, evaluation, and advancement services to nonprofits in the arts, K-12 education, and healthcare. KTA has extensive experience using mixed-methods research and analytics to identify, validate, and measure programmatic processes and effects in the cultural sector. 

The firm’s portfolio includes projects from evaluating K-12 arts education programs to assessing factors that contribute to individual and community valuing of cultural participation. KTA brings a deep knowledge of and relationships in both regional and national arts ecosystems, as well as experience conducting comprehensive evaluations for nonprofit arts grantees and government agencies that include the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Jill Beale

Teaching Artist Coach

Jill Beale is a program director, arts educator, and Emmy-nominated producer. For over a decade, she has been designing and directing arts education programs in New York City and Los Angeles. Jill was the Director of Youth Media Education at BRIC Arts & Media in Brooklyn, where she oversaw media arts residencies in public schools, family programming, curriculum design, and Brooklyn's first-ever youth media festival, Concrete Stories. 

Now in LA, she is an educational consultant and producer, and her most recent projects include creating a documentary series for PBS and producing the city-wide youth film festival at The Academy of Motion Pictures. Jill received a B.A. in Art and Social Change from New York University, and an M.A. in Media Studies and Film from the New School University.

Star Montana

Teaching Artist

Star Montana is a photo-based artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She was born and raised in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, which is predominantly Mexican American and serves as the backdrop to much of her work. Star’s imagery deals with class, social environment, and identity within the personal: her family. Three dots and Tear drops, a long term project with her family that has dealt with fragmented histories, loss, and the hope of the next generation, was on view at the Vincent Price Art Museum and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

More recently, she has begun to work on her themes within a larger scope of Los Angeles residents via portraiture and video which resulted in her solo show, I Dream of Los Angeles at the Main Museum. Montana received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2013 and her Masters of Fine Art from USC in 2019. 

Jamaal Tolbert

Teaching Artist

Jamaal Tolbert’s work introduces viewers to a world of critical issues often avoided by society. Exploring ideas of blackness globally, he illustrates his disciplined research with experimental images and video art. Tolbert encourages viewers to reconsider their role in social construction, civil rights, and white hegemony. He earned his B.A. in Sociology & Art California State University, Bakersfield, completed his certification in Art & Marketing from Sotheby’s in London, and continued his studies at Claremont Graduate University where he received his MFA in Studio Art.

In addition to working as an artist in Los Angeles, Jamaal Hasef Tolbert is passionate about educating both young artists and art novices. He has worked as a visiting artist and lecturer at USC and was a Getty Unshuttered instructor. He hopes to continue bringing art to his community.

Tia Thompson

Teaching Artist

Tia Thompson is a photographer and cinematographer. She served as Principal Cinematographer on Just Married, as a PA, Camera Assistant, and Extra on M.I.S.T.E.R., and a PA on Deadwax. Her photography works have been featured and exhibited by: United Photo Industries; Photoville LA; Curator Love; Ashara Ekundayo Gallery; Advocate & Gochis Galleries, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Black Portraiture[s] III - Reinventions: Strains of Histories and Cultures, AcreativeDC, PBS.org, Feminist Artists, Academics, and Activists: Crossing Black Geographies, Matador Network, Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Pleiades Gallery, and East City Art. 

Tia was born and raised in Fort Pierce, FL and currently resides in Los Angeles, serving black and brown kids in South Central. 

Christina Korn

Teaching Artist

Christina Korn in an artist and educator with a background in facilitating impactful arts experiences for diverse audiences. As a Teaching Artist with LACMA and the Hammer Museum, Christina creates engaging art lessons for K-12 audiences based on the museum’s exhibitions.

In addition to maintaining her studio practice in painting, Christina is dedicated to promoting arts education in the classroom. She specializes in collaborating with classroom teachers to develop arts integrated curriculum that strengthens students’ academic achievement and social emotional skills.

Ilene Squires

Teaching Artist

Since 2013, Ilene has managed a bi-coastal photography business that primarily serves small businesses, schools and nonprofits in Los Angeles and New York City. A trained educator and Teach For America Alumni (NYC '03), Ilene served on the start-up team of a Harlem charter school and later, its Dean of Students. Returning to her roots in 2009, she began photography training at The International Center of Photography while teaching in a progressive downtown Manhattan school. Her most favored position in her Teaching Artist journey has been as a pre-teen and teen Darkroom Instructor in the South Bronx.

Ilene’s many years in education led her to parlay her creativity and passion into her photography career. Having grown up Jewish and Filipino (Jewpino!), Ilene’s life is full of rich colors and vibrant traditions that she showcases through her work. Her creative process is collaborative and she believes that beauty is far from monolithic.

Dain Olsen

Media Arts Specialist

Dain is a media arts education specialist with over 25 years of experience in classroom instruction and educational leadership roles. As the Media Arts Writing Chair for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, he led the development of national PK-12 media arts standards and assessments. He led the institution of media arts in LAUSD, including K-12 standards and curricula, the establishment and administration of 14 middle school and high school programs, and the formation of a broad-based community of support. 

Dain contributed to the new Blueprint for Creative Schools, as well as new Career Technical Education standards. He currently teaches media arts and is Coordinator for the Multimedia Academy at Belmont High School in LAUSD. He is a founding faculty member for the Vermont College of Fine Arts Master of Arts in Teaching program, and has taught at OTIS College of Art and UCLA. He exhibited for over 20 years as a media artist in video, sound, installation, performance and interactive sculpture.

Ryan Goins

ELA Specialist

Ryan Goins is a career-long educator serving as a Linked Learning specialist. Prior to arriving at the Center for Powerful Public Schools, he created Professional Development seminars and online course suites for Renaissance Learning. Ryan taught humanities and business courses as a founding faculty member of the Los Angeles Academy of Arts and Enterprise, a 6th-12th grade charter school near downtown LA. At LAAAE, he filled a variety of leadership roles while working with colleagues to create interdisciplinary projects through Design-Based Learning. 

A Teach for America alumnus, he has extensive experience teaching multiple subjects in public schools throughout Compton, CA. Over the years, he’s found that students grow the most when their learning is structured around a culminating performance or product. Ryan earned his BA in History from the University of Texas at Austin and is a native of Houston, TX.

Sarah Brown

Math Specialist

Sarah Schuler-Brown is a Pasadena native completing her dissertation at the UCLA Graduate School of Education on the transition of students from high school to community college. While at UCLA, Sarah worked with Center X to increase and enhance the computer science learning opportunities in LAUSD, and with The Civil Rights Project on issues of desegregation and college access. Sarah’s interest in issues regarding post-secondary access and retention stem from her own experience as a first-generation college student and her extensive experience working with under-served and under-represented populations within the high school and college setting.

Prior to her work at The Center for Powerful Public Schools, Sarah completed her Master’s Degree at Columbia University where she worked with New York City High Schools. She has also taught Teacher Education and Principal Leadership courses at Pepperdine University and UCLA and held a number of positions in local educational non-profit organizations. As a former Gates Millennium Scholar, she is keenly aware of the importance of powerful partners in a student’s trajectory and looks forward to continuing the work to prepare every student for college, career, and civic life.