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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 6 months ago. Return to top.
Photo of Abraham Orozco
Abraham Orozco Director of Scientific Arts & IT Director
Work Phone: (213) 389-1148 x227
Updated 6 months ago. Return to top.
Photo of Monique van Willingh
Monique van Willingh YOLA at HOLA & Music Director
Work Phone: (213) 389-1166
Updated 1 month ago. Return to top.


Musicians Perform at Disney Hall

For the first time, all three Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) sites came together to perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Over 500 musicians, ages 6-19, provided a wonderful evening of music for friends and family members, who packed every seat in the Hall. The HOLA music students made up nearly half of the youth who performed. The HOLA Youth Orchestra performed alongside their peers from the YOLA at Expo Center and the YOLA at LACSHA programs, with the HOLA Youth Choir accompanying. The Choir […]

A Look Back at 2014

Spring is definitely in the air at HOLA, but before we spring forward, we thought it would be a good time to take a look back at 2014 and all that we accomplished. Not only did we celebrate our 25th Anniversary, but we were able to expand the number of youth served to nearly 3,000! Click on the box below to view the video annual report set to Ziggy Marley’s hit single Lighthouse. Thank you, Ziggy, for your incredible support of HOLA and our kids.

HOLA Musicians Travel to Japan with the LA Phil

In conjunction with the LA Phil‘s Asian Tour, four musicians from HOLA’s YOLA at HOLA program traveled to Japan with 11 of their peers from the YOLA at Expo program. John, Kevin, Macy and Miguel went through a rigorous selection process which included a written essay and audition. After weeks of preparation, including a visit to Little Tokyo and Japanese lessons with Miss Megumi, the students boarded the 16 hour flight to Tokyo. Once in Tokyo, the 15 young musicians boarded a high speed bullet […]

YOLA at HOLA Winter Choir Concert

As the 2015 Winter Session draws to a close, students in the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) at HOLA Choirs performed for a packed auditorium at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. The Concert featured performances by the Casals, Gershwin, Puccini, Rossini and Vivaldi Choirs, as well as the HOLA Youth Orchestra Elective Choir and a bring down the house solo sung by Anthony Gonzalez. The students sang a wide variety of songs, including “We’ve Got the Music,” “Sing a Song from Sesame Street,” “Bye, Bye Blackbird” and […]

Faces & Places Art Show Opens

On a beautiful spring evening, the Visual Arts Department hosted the opening of Faces & Places from the MacArthur Park Neighborhood, a show featuring the photographs of Heart of Los Angeles students. For the past six months, the students have been exploring the neighborhood through the lens of their cameras. The exhibition tells the stories of people that live and work in the community and the places where they reside. The show is made possible by a generous donation from Millennium Films. Yoni Yunger and […]

USC Brain & Creativity Institute Presents Preliminary Findings

In 2012, the USC Brain and Creativity Institute, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and Heart of Los Angeles embarked upon a long-term research collaboration to investigate the emotional, social, and cognitive effects of musical training on childhood brain development. The early findings of the five-year research project are very exciting and recently, LA Phil CEO and President Deborah Borda and HOLA’s Executive Director Tony Brown recently sat down with USC Brain and Creativity Institute Director Dr. Antonio Damasio, Dr. Assal Habibi, the lead investigator of […]


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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