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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

Click here for enrollment dates.

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 12 months ago. Return to top.
Photo of Abraham Orozco
Abraham Orozco Director of Scientific Arts & IT Director
Work Phone: (213) 389-1148 x227
Updated 12 months ago. Return to top.
Photo of Monique van Willingh
Monique van Willingh YOLA at HOLA & Music Director
Work Phone: (213) 389-1166
Updated 2 months ago. Return to top.


El Sistema Brings Success to Teaching Partnership

Teaching music is what gave me back my passion. After performing professionally and getting my Masters, I was completely burnt out of playing, I never wanted to pick up an instrument again. But teaching was a new challenge, a new joy. It asked me to work backwards, to go back to the basics and think about music in a way I hadn’t in a long time. It renewed my love of music.” -Katie Swaydis, Longy School of Music at Bard MAT Graduate Student HOLA’s campus is […]

Maria Guinand Lends Expertise to HOLA Choir

World-renowned teacher and conductor, Maria Guinand led a masterclass at HOLA on October 15, 2015. Ms. Guinand worked with an ensemble of co-ed middle school musicians who sing in the “Gershwin Choir.” Ms Guinand remarked on their expertly crafted sound and exquisite demeanour developed by YOLA at HOLA Singing and Solfege Specialist, Emma Joleen. The students were thrilled to sing for Ms Guinand and were even more excited to receive the positive feedback. Thank you, Maria, for generously giving up you time for our talented […]

Holiday of the Heart 2015

Blending Cultures via Dia De Los Muertos

In some American families, it’s common to want to shield our young ones from the bleakness of death and grief. In an attempt to soften pain and fear, children are told privately and delicately when unavoidable tragedies occur. But in varying Latin American cultures, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), brings light and a sense of comfort to the realities of mortality — and an opportunity to celebrate the lives of loved ones who’ve died. This holiday’s history is not limited to one particular nation or […]

Selena Gomez is A Hero of the Heart

Hearts melted around campus last Spring when Selena Gomez came for a visit. Sitting side-by-side, she and giddy students dyed eggs and made flowers out of tissue paper tissue-paper in preparation of Easter. Bridges student Ahyleen, will never forget the experience. “She’s very cool, better than most celebrities. She had fun with us, just as much fun as we had with her. She seemed very happy to be at HOLA,” Ahyleen smiles. As UNICEF’s youngest ever Goodwill Ambassador, Selena’s impressive philanthropic commitments serves as a stellar model of what it […]

Ghetto Film School Screening at LACMA

Standing in front of a full audience in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) theatre, Ghetto Film School LA (GFSLA) Program Coordinator Alvy Johnson welcomed everyone, “I’m guessing half of you are friends and family of our young filmmakers. And half of you are community members who saw us on the internet and thought this would be a cool way to spend your evening.” It was a lovely evening in September for this year’s annual GFS LA Fellows Screening that showcased the work created by the young filmmakers who had […]


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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