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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
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    Photo of  Nara  Hernandez
    Nara Hernandez Visual Arts Director
    Work Phone: (213) 389-1144
    Updated 1 month ago. Return to top.
    Photo of  Abraham  Orozco
    Abraham Orozco Director of Scientific Arts & IT Director
    Work Phone: (213) 389-1148 x227
    Updated 2 months ago. Return to top.
    Photo of  Christine  Witkowski
    Christine Witkowski YOLA at HOLA & Music Director
    Work Phone: (213) 389-1166
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    Winter Session STEAMs Ahead

    HOLA’s Winter Session is in full swing and there are so many exciting opportunities for the more than 500 students who walk through our doors every afternoon. From academic enrichment classes, focused on reading, math, science and history, to digital media and 3D product design, students are exploring ideas that take them way beyond what they are doing in school. Along with old favorites like Healthy Cooking and Girls on the Run, this winter there are many exciting, new STEAM-focused offerings. The PAT program is […]

    YOLA at HOLA Sings in the Holidays

    As the fall session came to an end, YOLA at HOLA youth performed to a packed audience during their winter concert. The evening included performances by the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Children’s Orchestra, the Youth Orchestra and the Choir. The young musicians performed many holiday classics, including “Sleigh Ride” and a special holiday sing-a-long featuring “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Lichvod Hanukah” and “Feliz Navidad.” The special sing-a-long got everyone in the holiday spirit with students, teachers and everyone in the audience singing along. Finishing […]

    He’s Tokyo Bound

    Miguel Guendolay has been a part of YOLA at HOLA for the past three years and he was recently given the opportunity to audition for a chance to travel to Tokyo. The LA Phil conducted the auditions to fill 15 spots with YOLA musicians who will travel with the LA Phil when they begin their Asian tour in March. The auditions were competitive and rigorous. In addition to playing their instruments, the students submitted essays and interviewed with YOLA and LA Phil staff. Miguel was […]

    ICE Sets Up Residency at HOLA

    Students in the YOLA at HOLA Wind Ensemble recently had the extraordinary opportunity to engage in a series of workshops led by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) during a three-day residency at HOLA. Together with seven members of ICE, the students explored composition, improvisation and performance of contemporary music. Activities included musical games, the creation of graphic scores and immersion in works that were performed during the culminating concert. The group explored works by a variety of composers, including Lewis, Wolf and Rzewski, and the percussionists even created […]

    HOLA Awarded NEA Grant

    For the third year in a row, Heart of Los Angeles has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to support the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) at HOLA program. YOLA at HOLA is a partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is directly inspired by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel’s formative experience with El Sistema, Venezuela’s youth orchestra movement. Now in its fourth year, YOLA at HOLA serves nearly 250 local youth ages 6-16. Two hundred students spend over 15 hours […]

    HOLA Participates in MacArthur Park Festival de Otoño

    HOLA kids, parents and staff had a wonderful time participating in the MacArthur Park Festival de Otoño, a festival that included art, live music, food, Day of the Dead Activities and a Soccer Tournament for the kids. Over the past several weeks, moms participating in the art class taught by Marialice Jacob have been building a Day of the Dead altar that was on display at the festival. Councilmember Gil Cedillo presented HOLA with a Certificate of Recognition that was graciously received by several HOLA […]


    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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