Program Mission: HOLA’s Arts and Culture Program encourages youth to channel their energy and emotion into creative endeavors in the visual and performing arts, developing their powers of self-expression, instilling self-confidence, and fueling their interest in learning.

HOLA provides quality programming to inner-city youth who have little or no access to such classes inside or outside of school. Each year, HOLA students have the opportunity to participate in more than 100 different classes, including ceramics, photography, painting, fashion design and sewing, hip hop and salsa dancing, theater production, choir, private music lessons and a full youth orchestra. HOLA’s facilities include three art studios, a fine arts library, music rooms, and a dance studio.

Program Goals:

  • Foster a sense of community where everyone supports each other
  • Hold high expectations for artistic and academic excellence for each child
  • Develop the whole child, not only as an artist, but as a citizen and scholar
  • Provide a flexible, fun and safe learning environment
  • Recognize the different and unique strengths of each child
  • Belief that education fosters empowerment, liberation and pride
  • Belief in the power of art as an agent of social change
    Photo of  Mani Mekler Baker
    Mani Mekler Baker Artistic Music Director
    Work Phone: (213) 389-1166
    Categories: Artistic Music Director Add to Address Book. Updated 294 days ago. Return to top.
    Photo of  Nara  Hernandez
    Nara Hernandez Visual Arts Director
    Work Phone: (213) 389-1144
    Categories: Performing Arts Director, Visual Arts Director Add to Address Book. Updated 294 days ago. Return to top.
    Photo of  Abraham  Orozco
    Abraham Orozco Director of Scientific Arts/ Film & TV Instructor
    Work Phone: (213) 389-1148 x227
    Categories: Film & TV Director, Scientific Arts Director Add to Address Book. Updated 294 days ago. Return to top.
    Photo of  Christine  Witkowski
    Christine Witkowski YOLA at HOLA & Music Director
    Work Phone: (213) 389-1166
    Categories: YOLA at HOLA & Music Director Add to Address Book. Updated 294 days ago. Return to top.


    End of Session Recital for HOLA Music Studios

    The students in the HOLA Music Studios ended the Winter Session with a celebratory recital. Students ranging in age from 8-18 performed to a packed room filled with proud parents, fellow students and staff. Students in each of the Piano, Drum and Guitar Studios, as well as the HOLA Jazz Band and Project 11, the [...]

    Children’s Author René Colato Laínez Visits HOLA

    Award-winning children’s book author and kindergarten teacher René Colato Laínez recently paid a visit to HOLA to share his story and his books with elementary students from all programs and the Parents Book Club. René was invited by HOLA parent Ariadna Sanchez, a very active member of the HOLA community and an aspiring children’s book [...]

    The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela Returns to Heart of Los Angeles

    At the end of February, over 50 members of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela* (SBSO) came to Heart of Los Angeles to conduct master classes with the students in our YOLA at HOLA program and to play in a side-by-side concert with the students. The HOLA staff and students prepared for months for [...]

    HOLA Leaders Take a Stand

    As part of the recent Take a Stand Symposium hosted by the LA Philharmonic, Bard College and Longy School of Music of Bard College, two YOLA at HOLA student musicians were selected to represent HOLA in the Leadership Forum for Young Musicians. The three-day event brought together 24 students from 13 El Sistema inspired programs [...]

    What Makes a Great Partnership

    I had the opportunity last week to speak at the 2014 Take a Stand* Symposium. This is the third year of this international gathering of people interested and/connected to the El Sistema movement. I served on a panel in a series of workshops aimed at helping people who are interested in starting their own El [...]

    Emanuel Ax Visits HOLA!

    HOLA was recently honored to welcome world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax to Heart of Los Angeles. Mr. Ax is a Grammy Award-winning pianist, an internationally acclaimed performer, and a teacher on the faculty of the Julliard School. He is also the main duo recital partner of acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He performed a selection of pieces for [...]


    HOLA provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.


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