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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 4 months ago. Return to top.
    Photo of  Abraham  Orozco
    Abraham Orozco Director of Scientific Arts & IT Director
    Work Phone: (213) 389-1148 x227
    Updated 4 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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    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 […]

    Bob Mintzer Leads Jazz Master Class

    Bob Mintzer, legendary jazz musician, stopped by the HOLA Music Studios to lead a Master Class with HOLA’s Jazz Band. Bob began the class by asking the students to play a piece for him. Under the direction of HOLA Jazz Band Director Jon Armstrong, the students played their take of the classic “Caravan.” Bob was very impressed with the performance and made a number of great suggestions that the students will use in their studies for years to come. He explained, through words and music, […]

    YOLA at HOLA Featured in LA Times

    The Los Angeles Times recently published a four-part print and digital piece about the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The third article in the series highlighted the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) and featured HOLA’s own Vivian Trejo. Vivian has been a member of YOLA at HOLA since the program began five years ago. Vivian plays the french horn and has won a scholarship to the prestigious Colburn School of Music. To read the article in Spanish, click here. HOLA is the home to the second of three YOLA […]


    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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