California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

May 07, 2014Caitlin Fitzwater

Arts Organizations Receive California Arts Council Grants for Programs Benefiting At-Risk Youth

California Arts Council awards more than $200,000 to support quality arts education programs for at-risk youth within the juvenile justice system

Sacramento -

 Seven organizations in diverse locations across California will receive funds to provide arts programs benefiting at-risk youth, through the Arts Council's pilot competitive grant program, Juveniles Utilizing Massive Potential Starting with Arts (JUMP StArts).

JUMP StArts supports quality arts education and artists-in-residence programs for the target population of at-risk youth -- youth within the jurisdiction of California's juvenile justice system -- in classroom, after-school, or incarceration settings.

"Studies show that the arts are a successful tool in redirecting at-risk youth. At-risk students with access to the arts tend to have higher career goals, better workforce opportunities, better academic results, and more civic engagement," said Wylie Aitken, Chair of the California Arts Council, citing research from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Aitken continued "The Arts Council and this administration believe investment in California's at-risk youth will greatly benefit our state's most vulnerable young people and our communities. This includes a population facing a future with less than optimal outcomes, who may have encountered abuse, homelessness, neglect, mental illness, and drug use." 

"The projects supported by our new JUMP StArts program are exemplary model initiatives. Each has proven methods for beneficial arts engagement with local at-risk youth.  The Council is pleased to provide this support made available through one-time funds from the California Assembly with the support of its Speaker, John Perez, allowing these projects to further expand their impact and demonstrate the need for greater future investment in such programs," Aitken added.

JUMP StArts requires partnerships between arts organizations and juvenile justice entities, and supports new or expanded arts services for at-risk youth in the juvenile justice setting under California Welfare and Institutions Code 600. Thirty-six organizations applied for JUMP StArts funds, with only seven organizations receiving awards for this highly competitive and limited-funds grant program.  

"We fully expect that the future success of each of these programs will provide concrete evidence that this is a powerful investment for California as a whole," Aitken concluded.

JUMP StArts Grant Recipients (in alphabetical order)

Armory Center for the Arts (serving Los Angeles County) will provide standards-based arts education through Learning Works at Homeboy Industries, sending Master Armory Teaching Artists who have a passion for educating and mentoring at-risk and in-crisis youth. $22,500

Arts Council for Monterey County (serving Monterey County) will expand its Monterey County Youth Center "expressive arts" (visual and multimedia) class capacity from 50% to 100%, reaching, for the first time, all of the students at the Youth Center. $40,500

Destiny Arts (serving Alameda County) will partner with Butler Academic Center and Camp Sweeney to bring professional teaching artists to provide critical socio-emotional and physical outlets to justice-involved youth through hip-hop dance and spoken word. $24,300

Marin Shakespeare Company (serving Marin County) will build on its eleven years of success bringing Shakespeare to San Quentin, to combine drama therapy, study and performance, and autobiographical writing to the youth at Marin Community School. The focus will be on Romeo and Juliet and its themes of love and hate, peer groups, authority figures, decision-making and self-destruction. $31,500

Playwrights Project (serving San Diego County) will guide twelve classrooms of juvenile court and community schools to write plays. The scripts will be publicly performed by professional actors with video posted on the internet. This has proven to be an extremely powerful experience for at-risk and incarcerated youth. $22,986

Riverside Art Museum (serving Riverside County) will bring its "Creative Horizons" arts education program to juvenile hall residents, and provide creative community activities to first-time and probationary youth offenders. $38,124

Southland Opera (based in Duarte, serving Orange County), in partnership with court school(s) and juvenile hall, will expand its successful "My Story, My Voice" music composition, literacy, and theater program from 14 sessions to 20 sessions at two sites in Orange County. $29,304

About the JUMP StArts Program

The purpose of the JUMP StArts Program is to:

  • support quality arts education and artists-in-residence programs/projects for the population as outlined above in classroom, after-school, or incarceration settings in diverse communities and geographical settings, and
  • demonstrate to juvenile justice and social service entities the value of arts education and/or arts participation for at-risk children and youth.

The funded projects address the following goals:

  • provide opportunities for arts participation and arts education to wards of the Juvenile Court System
  • develop or strengthen partnerships between social service providers/juvenile justice facilities for the target population and arts organizations/artists serving the same
  • identify potential criteria for measuring success

One-time California State Assembly Arts Funding

JUMP StArts grants are supported by one-time funds from the California State Assembly. In July 2013, the California Arts Council received $2 million in savings from the 2013 State Assembly operating budget. The funds, directed to support arts and arts education programs in California communities via grants or direct services, must be encumbered during the 2013-2014 fiscal year and will not be used for administrative costs at the agency. Funds will be distributed through JUMP StArts and two additional competitive grant programs, as well as through special arts education initiatives.

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Wylie Aitken, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Christopher Coppola, Donn K. Harris, Charmaine Jefferson, William Turner, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

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