Mapping the Metropolis: A Collaboration


Over the past 20 years The HeArt Project has worked with countless at-risk youth and dedicated teachers to bring the arts into the classroom. Working in 23 alternative high schools in three school districts, The HeArt Project works to inspire students to stay in school while providing them with tools for personal and professional development.

Departures Youth Voices is proud to partner with The HeArt Project and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes on this year's theme, "Mapping the Metropolis: Finding the Heart of our City."

With this project, eight teaching artists, working with students at eight schools throughout Los Angeles County, have an opportunity to utilize the Youth Voices Curriculum, as well as amazing historical content available at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. The teachers can take and implement any aspect of the Youth Voices eleven workshops, all of which offer students essential multimedia authoring skills and core media-based literacies in the process of investigating the social, cultural, and political history of their neighborhoods and cities.

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Recent statistics have shown that dropout rates in Los Angeles County as well as the State are improving, but they still hover around 20% for all LAUSD students, and higher for Latino and African American students. Much work still needs to be done to close the graduation gap and provide all students with the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century marketplace. When these young people are not reached, they are more likely to be unemployed, underemployed, and earn significantly less then college graduates throughout their lives.

Departures Youth Voices will be documenting the work of the teaching artists and students through the academic year, showcasing the development of their projects and the presentation of their final pieces every ten weeks. Stay tuned to learn how each teaching artist employs the Youth Voices curriculum and the resources from La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, and watch how the students transform the material into their own stories of self-identity, and community.

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