(Carson, CA) –The California Arts Council has awarded the PRAXIS City ArtS Parks program at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) a $135,000 Creative California Communities grant to expand to additional parks throughout the City of Carson to provide art workshops taught by working artists, and to create two public arts projects in the city.
CSUDH’s PRAXIS art engagement program launched the PRAXIS City ArtS Parks program in the fall 2018 to expand narratives of South Los Angeles with afterschool art and mentoring programs. The program provides an artistic outlet for youth and local community to aspire and dream, while cultivating pride and specificity of place.
The artists working in PRAXIS City ArtS Parks program in Carson will be assisted by paid CSUDH undergraduate students who are eager to acquire skills in community engagement and youth mentorship. The program’s benefits are three-fold: it provides opportunities for artists; professional development for undergraduate students; and cultural and critical thinking enrichment for K-6 participants.
“With the awarding of the CAC CCC grant, we are excited to solidify our partnership with the City of Carson. The support from Mayor Albert Robles and city council members has been important for the program’s development,” said Devon Tsuno, assistant professor in CSUDH’s Art and Design Department and creator and co-director of PRAXIS, along with Aandrea Stang, assistant professor and University Art Gallery director.
PRAXIS City ArtS Parks aims to extend beyond studio practice and art history, incorporating social theory, community organizing, storytelling, and theories of public space. The cumulative effect of each of these elements—participatory workshops, community-engaged research, and the public dialogue—creates a true program of youth-centered arts empowerment.
“Carson has one of the nation’s most diverse populations, and serving this diverse cultural heritage is an important value of the City. This partnership with CSUDH is a great step to further integrating the University’s arts programming and our community,” said Carson Mayor Albert Robles. “The City is committed to building a strong connection between CSUDH and our residents, and doing it for the betterment of the culture and diversity is great.”
CSUDH is one of 40 grantees chosen for the Creative California Communities program. The award was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, with grant funds totaling a projected $24,508,541 for 2018-19, the highest investment in statewide arts programming since the 2000-01 fiscal year. This is the second Creative California Communities award that CSUDH has received. The initial grant received in 2016 served as seed money for PRAXIS, which has evolved into a thriving and dynamic community program.
“Arts and culture are inextricably linked to our humanity,” said Nashormeh Lindo, chair of the California Arts Council. “They serve as a universal touchpoint for understanding and addressing our societal issues—dismantling inequity, healing trauma, reframing justice, inspiring truth and shaping futures. The Council is humbled to support the vital work of CSUDH’s PRAXIS City ArtS Parks program and its passionate efforts to make a better California for us all.”