Inner-City Arts programs provide in-depth instruction in Visual Arts, Creativity Lab, Dance, Drama, Music, Ceramics, Digital Photography, Film Production, Graphic Design and Animation.

In each subject area, participants have the opportunity to experience the art-making process from concept through discovery and execution. Culminating in the non-judgmental critique, children and adults are supported in their efforts to express themselves both creatively and verbally.

Visual Arts

In a real studio environment, children have the opportunity to paint, draw, sculpt and create with a variety of both traditional art and found-object materials. They create portraits, still lifes, and abstract two- and three-dimensional compositions. Art critiques that emphasize observation, interpretation and articulation help students develop a vocabulary for the visual arts and a non-judgmental way to discuss their work with their peers.

Soraya Sarah Nazarian Ceramics Academy

Ceramics classes provide students with an opportunity to explore the elements and principles of art through clay. Students are engaged in a variety of hand-building projects including slab structures and basic pinch and coil pots. They create fantastical creatures, objects and environments developed through their imaginations. Line, shape, color, space, texture, rhythm, balance and pattern are all introduced in this medium. The ceramics program emphasizes individual expression as well as collaborative learning through group project design and creation. Leadership support from the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation helps ensure a dynamic, multi-faceted studio experience for hundreds of students each year.

Creativity Lab

The Creativity Lab was started in 2011, stimulated by the nationwide Maker Movement, which encourages a return to tinkering and exploring with materials and tools.  Here, in the Creativity Lab, we use simple, industrial materials such as wood, plastic, metal and recyclables to invent and build.  In this setting, students learn to use tools and solve problems by working in teams. They face challenges and overcome obstacles. Through experimentation, problem solving, persevering, and reworking, they are drawn more deeply into their own creativity. Due in large part to The Walt Disney Company’s generous support, the Creativity Lab has emerged as a stimulating and supportive environment where youth can explore their own creative capabilities.

Digital Photography

The Digital Photography curriculum explores portraiture, documentary, nature/landscape, architectural/cityscape and still life photography, utilizing both the Media Arts Studio and the Children's Garden as an outdoor studio. Students are exposed to new technology, equipment and software programs while being encouraged to pursue their own vision, imagination and creativity, learning how to "make images" rather than just taking them. Written language skills are strengthened through the creation of titles, stories and artists' statements.

Glorya Kaufman Dance Academy

Exploring their world through movement, children discover the joy of self-expression, individually and in groups. Incorporating all the elements of dance - space, time, energy, movement and shape—children create dances from their imaginations, from traditional forms and as a vehicle for expressing their own stories and those written or told by others. Through dance, children and youth develop the ability to interact physically in ways that are supportive, non-threatening and cooperative.


Children become aware of their five senses as well as the use of their bodies and imaginations as a form of expression in drama classes. Through storytelling and improvisational games, they learn to be brave, daring and expressive. Classes inspire children to come up with their own ideas as they learn to respect each other and themselves, whether participating in a game, creating a scene or writing a play.

Film Production

Films tell a series of small important stories – each carefully composed scene is framed, lit, and paced to bring meaning to the script. Every detail, from where the actors stand to the sound of rustling leaves, is the result of planning and cooperation. The Film Production workshop allows students to discover how people, ideas, and technology come together to create the films that become a part of our lives.

The Film Production Workshop is an introduction to filmmaking using digital video cameras and Final Cut Pro editing software. Participants will write, shoot and edit their own individual video projects and leave with a DVD of their film at the end of session. They will also receive on-the-job training while working “crew” on other participant’s projects. While learning to become the Director, Director of Photography, Assistant Director, and Script Supervisor, participants will build their creativity through the eye of a camera, and be introduced to new skills that can later be used to further develop an interest in filmmaking. The Workshop concludes with a screening of the participants’ films before an invited audience.

Graphic Design

Graphic Design can be found throughout our culture, seen on T-shirts, magazines, billboards and corporate branding, TV ad’s, film and the computer. In the Graphic Design Workshop students learn how to blend creativity and technology, and learn the fundamentals of drawing and color.

Graphic Design requires and hones communication skills and knowledge of graphic design software, working in both 2 and 3-D, encouraging students to look at the world both visually and conceptually. Students looking for an outlet for their creative ideas will find that the Graphic Design field includes new opportunities to gain broad digital media expertise, including learning about video, audio and photography content. Students learn communication and professional skills, as well as problem-solving skills.

In the graphic design workshop students will be introduced to design concepts, media illustration, exhibit design, commercial packaging design, branding design and the history of graphic design as it relates to their current environment. Students will create images, graphics, and sound and video files, and will be introduced to use of Adobe applications such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Graphic design also includes an introduction to other fields such as the visual arts, communication, advertising, marketing, design services and multimedia. Students learn how to visually communicate by conveying their ideas creatively with images and words, bringing their creations to life.


Offering instrumental and vocal instruction, our music program provides a wide range of learning and performance opportunities promoting self-discovery, self-discipline and self-expression. We focus on fostering the student's personal and artistic development through activities designed for discovery, learning, skill mastery, sharing, teamwork, and growth. The World Music Ensemble and the Inner-City Arts Chorus both allow students to experience the magic of performance.

DreamWorks Animation Academy at Inner-City Arts

Our innovative animation program, the DreamWorks Animation Academy at Inner-City Arts, has been named in recognition of the generous support from DreamWorks Animation SKG. An art form our students encounter in their everyday lives, animation has a unique ability to help children demystify their world, and engage in a different way of learning. Taught by professional teaching artists, our animation program is offered for grades third through high school. Students learn the fundamentals of animation, and create zoetropes, flipbooks, hand and puppet animation, drawing on film and pixilation. They practice a skill set of significant value in today's world, including collaboration, problem-solving and sequential thinking.

Within the DreamWorks Animation Academy, the Inner-City Arts High School Animation Program provides instruction in stop motion, claymation, sand, paint-on-glass, charcoal, and cut-out puppetry. Participants also learn zoetropes, flip books, and hand-drawn animation. The first semester of this yearlong program is devoted to an exploration of the various animation techniques and exercises as stated above, while the second term focuses on completing the creation of a film. The students' animated shorts and collaborative films are screened at The Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts.

Eamon Cannon Comedy Class

Utilizing the tools and skills employed by professional comedians, students will learn how to turn their life experiences into a five-minute comedy routine. Group improvisations, individualized writing exercises and specific instruction in the craft of comedy lead up to a live performance for family and friends. Training in creating, performing and producing original material is all part of this hands-on experience of bringing one’s special outlook on the world to life.

“Since beginning this series, I’ve been blown away by my students’ creativity and performances. They are exhibiting more self-confidence and enthusiasm for learning.”

– Kye K., 3rd Grade Teacher