The Grand Avenue arts corridor may be perched on a hill, but the organizations that have come to define it believe their turf extends across Southern California — and beyond. Giving back to the community is key to each institution’s mission, particularly when it comes to youth outreach. Here is a sampling of their programs:
Colburn School: This performing arts school, with a focus on music and dance, features a Center for Innovation and Community Impact that offers education for low-income students via a variety of free peer-to-peer performances, summer classes and scholarships. Through these programs, 5,000 students hear music played by Community School participants annually, and more than 200 students, in grades 1 through 12, receive five-plus hours a week of instruction.
The Broad: For the next few months, the contemporary art museum is bringing groups of schoolchildren to see its exhibit, “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983,” which highlights the contributions of black artists during the civil rights movement. It is also offering free access to the show every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. and is hosting a series of free gallery talks featuring history lessons from current community activists and artists from South Los Angeles.
Museum of Contemporary Art: Kids can unleash their inner artist via a classroom partnership program called Contemporary Art Start, which connects students in grades 3 through 12 with the museum through teacher training, school curriculum, museum visits and family-involvement opportunities. Since its founding in 1986, the program has reached more than 100,000 students and 3,000 teachers.
Los Angeles Opera: The fourth-largest opera company in the United States, based at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, administers more than 25 programs out of its education department. These include initiatives that pair elementary and secondary schools with Los Angeles Opera teaching artists to help children create and perform specially commissioned operas. The organization also partners with the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to present free large-scale community performances conducted by music director James Conlon.
Music Center: The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater and Walt Disney Concert Hall all fall under the umbrella of the Music Center, one of the largest performing arts centers in the country. It recently formed Music Center Arts, or TMC Arts, which approaches arts education through community engagement. Initiatives include Dance DTLA, a free summer program that invites live bands, DJs and prominent dance instructors to teach group lessons in a variety of styles and musical genres.
Center Theatre Group: This 52-year-old L.A. institution is one of the nation’s leading theater companies, staging plays and programs at the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. It hosts annual college and career festivals for high school students, which facilitate conversations between budding thespians and theater professionals from dozens of colleges and universities, including USC, UCLA, Pepperdine and Emerson College. It also hosts a series of library readings, student matinees and audience talks.
Los Angeles Philharmonic: L.A.’s hometown orchestra is considered one of the best in the world, thanks to its charismatic maestro, Gustavo Dudamel, and its reputation for bold experimentation. Its Youth Orchestra Los Angeles offers free music instruction in under-served neighborhoods, and more than 1,200 students between the ages of 6 to 18 participate at four community sites annually.
All of the listed organizations participate in Grand Ave. Arts: All Access, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 2. Currently in its fifth year, the community event will feature family-friendly activities, workshops and tours that offer opportunities to interact with the arts institutions on Grand Avenue. The program is free and open to the public.