VAPAE: UCLA Catalyst Award Honors University’s Visual and Performing Arts Ed Program

UCLA School of the Arts program has partnered with UCLA Ed & IS to bring art education to UCLA Lab School and UCLA Community School.

This fall, the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture’s Visual and Performing Arts Education Program (VAPAE) was honored with the 2015 UCLA Community Program of the Year Catalyst Award. The program, which has worked in partnership with UCLA Ed & IS, provides UCLA undergraduates in a variety of visual and performing arts majors, the opportunity to gain teaching experience in their area of study through VAPAE’s minor program.

“It is such an honor to be recognized with the Catalyst Award,” says Barbara Drucker, Associate Dean of Community Engagement and Arts Education, and VAPAE’s director. “Providing quality arts education experiences to diverse communities in the greater Los Angeles area is critically important to us. We are grateful to all of our partners and supporters for helping make this program what it is today. VAPAE is very lucky to have an unparalleled leadership team and group of dedicated Teaching Artists who are passionate about bringing the arts into the lives of K-12 students in underserved communities.”

Barbara Drucker, VAPAE director, takes part in a Dia de los Muertos workshop with students and parents at UCLA Community School.
Barbara Drucker, VAPAE director, takes part in a Dia de los Muertos workshop with students and parents at UCLA Community School.

VAPAE’s outreach to the Los Angeles community has included its collaborations with UCLA Lab School and UCLA Community School. These included such innovative programs as the Classroom-in-Residence at the Hammer Museum, that provided UCLA Community School students with an insider’s view of what it is like to work at a world-class art institution, and the Book Arts Program at UCLA’s Clark Memorial Library, which introduced students from UCLA Lab School, UCLA Community School, and 24th Street Elementary School to the art of creating and binding books.

VAPAE was developed in UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture in 2009-10 under the guidance of Drucker. VAPAE fosters the creative and intellectual growth of UCLA Arts students as well as providing opportunities for students and teachers associated with UCLA Education to grow as arts educators, particularly in communities where the lack of arts education is a fact for underserved student populations.

In October, VAPAE began a new program titled MASA (Multigenerational Afterschool Arts Program) for 6th graders at UCLA Community School. This pilot model welcomes parents into the classroom where they can share meaningful cultural knowledge and personal experiences with their children while enjoying afterschool arts workshops led by VAPAE Teaching Artists.

“The MASA Program aims to be a transformative model for community engagement, collaborative art making, and progressive teaching and learning practices in the arts,” says Lindsay Lindberg, VAPAE program coordinator and lecturer. “With the MASA Program, VAPAE expands its afterschool arts programming in an applied educational setting outside the conventional classroom, studio, gallery, and performance contexts and extends the partnership between VAPAE and UCLA Community School. This innovative format recognizes the artistic skills and cultural traditions of the parent participants, provides workshop facilitation training, and the opportunity for those parents to design and implement their own stand-alone arts workshops.”

Suyapa Salinas, a 9-12th grade Spanish teacher at UCLA Community School, participated in a MASA workshop on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), where students and their parents worked together to create decorations for traditional ofrendas (offerings) for deceased loved ones. She says that the MASA program enhances language learning for her students.

Vanessa Chung (at left) and Claudia Vera Rosas serve as Teaching Artists in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture’s Visual and Performing Arts Education Program (VAPAE). This fall, they facilitated multigenerational art workshops at UCLA Community School, helping students and their parents prepare to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Photo by Barbara Drucker
VAPAE Teaching Artists Vanessa Chung (at left) and Claudia Vera Rosas facilitated multigenerational art workshops at UCLA Community School this fall, helping students and their parents prepare to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Photo by Barbara Drucker

“Language and culture cannot be separated,” she says. “What I like is that my students have better interactions with the younger students, when they’re teaching them how to create art. We also bring the culture of the parents to language learning. Some of the students were born here – they are first-, second-, and third-generation. So when they do this, they say, ‘My mom does this [holiday], but I didn’t understand it before.’ My Korean and Filipino students also share how they honor death, so I involve all these cultures too.”

Vanessa Chung was attracted to the VAPAE Program in part due to her family background – her parents own an art studio in Northern California. She says that after working as a VAPAE Teaching Artist, she hopes to pursue an advanced degree in education and is interested in helping teachers find ways to integrate the arts into everyday curriculum.

“After going to a school on a weekly basis with VAPAE, I feel rejuvenated and inspired to work harder [at my studies] so that I can work more with these communities,” she says. “I’ve gained a lot of skills in communicating and what works with students within the art [instruction] and beyond. It has been a great experience.”

VAPAE is currently implementing six afterschool arts programs with a new one to be added during the Winter 2016 quarter, at Los Angeles schools including Emerson Community Charter School, University High School and St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary School, and another middle school program at the Huffington Center at St. Sophia’s Cathedral. The fourth year of VAPAE’s Classroom-in-Residence at the Hammer will take place in March 2016, with students from Wilshire Crest Elementary School and Cienega Elementary School, two Title I schools in the Los Angeles area.

The Catalyst Award recognizes a UCLA Community Program that has made a significant impact in the communities it serves. In 2014, UCLA Community School received this University-wide honor.

To learn more about the VAPAE Program at UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, visit this link. For a list of upcoming VAPAE events that are free and open to the public, click here.

 

Above: Kevin Kane, VAPAE Associate Director and lecturer, with Teaching Artists Claudia Vera Rosas (at left) and Vanessa Chung, at a MASA workshops for students and parents at UCLA Community School.