OUR MISSION • HISTORY • CAMPUS • COmmunity Outreach
Art Division is a non-profit (501)(c)3 organization dedicated to training and supporting underserved youth who are committed to studying the visual arts. Art Division distinguishes itself by providing in-depth services to young adults aged 18-26 in the Rampart District of Los Angeles, an at-risk population within one of Los Angeles’ most densely populated and underserved communities.
We believe that focused instruction, individualized tutoring and personal support gives students the tools they need to pursue higher education, achieve self-sufficiency and obtain careers in the arts and related fields. Art Division is also dedicated to community engagement and to building a thriving arts community in the Rampart District.
Art Division was founded in 2010 by Dan McCleary to serve young adults in the Rampart District. While working as the Director of Art Programs for Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), an after-school program for youth up to 18 years old, Dan realized that when his most talented and committed students aged out of the program, they lost access to community-based arts programs. Art Division was founded to give these young artists the professional training and academic support they need to succeed and transition into four-year colleges and successful careers. We acquired our 501(c)3 non-profit status in January, 2011.
Art Division has a permanent base in its Art Library. Our extended campus consists of painting and print-making studios, all located within walking distance of the library.
We depend on an enthusiastic staff and a significant contingent of dedicated volunteers to provide our programming. Art Division has gained the support of professional artists who have donated their time as guest lecturers and have opened their studios to our students.
Our campus consists of three sites: Our library, painting studio and printmaking studio.
Art Division Library - 2418 W. 6th St. LA CA. 90057
The library is home to more than 8,000 books and resources that have been carefully collected over nine years. The collection includes architecture, painting, art history, design, photography and allied disciplines. It is the heart of Art Division. Classes such as Creative Writing, Film Collective, Art History and College and Career coaching are held in the library, as well as lectures and screenings. It is open to our students Monday through Saturday giving them a safe place to study, research or get inspiration.
Painting Studio/ Gallery - 2430 W. 6th St. LA CA. 90057
Our painting and drawing classes are held in the studio. The space is available to our students Monday through Saturday to work on their personal artwork and projects. It is also used as an exhibition space. We host at least two major exhibitions annually and smaller ones throughout the year. Having our own gallery space gives our students the opportunity to show their work alongside established artists .
Printmaking Studio - 512 S. Rampart Blvd. LA CA. 90057
The printmaking studio is where students learn the fundamentals of printmaking ranging from rubber, linoleum and wood block to dry point etching. With guidance from the instructor, each student works on their own project using these methods. The space is generously donated by the LA Housing Partnership.
We Learn. We Do. We Teach.
In 2014 and 2015 Art Division students and staff were invited to teach a week-long drawing and printmaking workshops at the Gadsden Arts Center in Quincy, Florida. The purpose of the workshops was for the Center to connect with the Latino community. On both occasions, the students were very enthusiastic about learning the process of printmaking. The Gadsden experience also allowed our students to teach a skill they learned at Art Division to the kids in Florida. Through this experience, we realized that our students are perfect candidates to teach art in the Hispanic community.
After the Gadsden workshops, it was decided that we could provide the same programming in our own community. With art being the first subject being cut from the public school systems, we realized that there are many children in our neighborhood that are not given the opportunity to learn about art. In 2014, we partnered with Para Los Niños Gratts Primary Center, a charter school serving students in kindergarten and first grade.
This school had no previous art program and also lacked an art classroom. We were able to build a program using an existing outdoor space to create a “classroom” that was conducive to accommodating 25-40 students at a time. During the first phase, (semester one) two of our students taught a three month art class based on the Reggio Emilia Approach. One hundred forty students were able to explore different art forms taught by our students. Through increased funding, we are able to currently have four Art Division students teaching at Gratts. To date, 10 of our students have taught at Gratts.
Our students are being trained at Art Division in various principles of teaching such as the Reggio Emilia theory, how to organize and create a syllabus, how to approach difficult situations, etc. The training workshops are being conducted by professionals in each field.
Learn, Do, Teach is Art Division’s innovative program that first trains Art Division students in printmaking and then brings them into a community setting where they lead a workshop for children. The program is based on Art Division’s on-going printmaking class and provides advanced students with the opportunity to share their growing expertise with children who have limited exposure to arts education. In 2017, Art Division held a printing workshops in Desert Hot Springs and USC Fisher Museum of Art.
We have expanded the program to include more local organizations and have also extended our reach further into our own community. We have also diversified our workshops to include other disciplines, such as drawing, painting, and creative writing. We are also looking forward to an upcoming project that would will include a portable press, so that we can easily bring printing workshops to almost any location.
Alexandria House is a transitional residence and house of hospitality. They provide safe and supportive housing for women and children in the process of moving from emergency shelter to economic stability and permanent housing. Art Division has partnered with Alexandria House to implement collaborative projects between AD students and AH’s young children and teenage residents 6-18 (y/o). Participating AD students have exposed the Alexandria House youth to different art disciplines and will be covering a wide range of creative, artistic practices (including painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, filmmaking, etc). A culminating, collective exhibition of the students’ final artwork will be held at the Art Division Gallery.
For the past 7 years Art Division partners with Skylight Theatre to prepare over 300 sack lunches and distribute them to the hungry in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles. Funds are raised at our annual Alimento events at the Skylight Theatre and First Congregational Church of Los Angeles which provide funds for the food give-away.
St. Anne's Outreach Program
Art Division piloted an outreach program at St. Anne’s whose mission is: Working together to build safe, nurturing and resilient families—from pregnancy to parenthood and childhood to adulthood—for generations to come. Art Division provided art classes to the young women of St. Anne’s led by one of our students.