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HOLA’s Visual Arts Program provides quality programming to inner-city youth who have little or no access to such classes inside or outside of school. HOLA’s visual arts curriculum is designed and delivered by innovative teaching artists, college professors and passionate volunteer artists who combine their efforts to provide intensive arts education for at-risk youth. Each year, over 280 elementary, middle and high school students participate in the Visual Arts Program. Follow the progress of the students on the HOLA Public Art Blog and the Photo Project Blog.

Each year, students can choose from more than 100 classes in 22 different art forms, including ceramics, photography, painting, sculpture, fashion design, illustration, printmaking, mixed media, screen printing, watercolor, graphic design, new media and public art.

HOLA’s Visual Arts Department is located in the historic Wilshire Royale building. The space houses an extensive art library, media lab and three studios and boasts large street-side windows, providing ample opportunity for the students to connect to the community.

The Visual Arts Department curates four themed exhibitions throughout the year to showcase the creative accomplishments of HOLA’s young artists. The shows are held in the dedicated gallery space located in the Wilshire Royale.

Field Trips
Visual Arts Department students are given the opportunity to go on monthly field trips to art galleries, artist studios, museums, arts schools and a number of other cultural institutions around the city.

“Meet the Artist” Series
At least once every month, students attend “Meet the Artist” talks and workshops at which professional artists from the community and all over the world come to HOLA to share their experiences and work. These opportunities allow HOLA’s young artists to learn about career options in the arts and to expand their creative practice through exploration of new art forms and environments. Last year, HOLA welcomed artists that included among them curators, painters, illustrators, photographers, muralists, musicians, filmmakers and set designers.

“Artist Mentor in Residence”
HOLA’s “Artist Mentor in Residence” program provides residencies in HOLA’s Visual Arts Department for high school graduates who are enrolled in college. The internships are designed to provide the students with the opportunity to continue to create art, apprentice with HOLA’s professional art instructors and mentor young artists.

“Artist Residencies”
Each year, HOLA’s Visual Arts Department holds a series of public-art themed projects that engage youth and the community through classes, workshops, artist talks, field trips and public installations in and around HOLA’s neighborhood. To date, HOLA has welcomed seven Public Artists in Residence, along with 24 guest artists to contribute to these Public Art Projects. Initial funding for these projects was provided  by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Click here to view videos of the projects.

Click here for enrollment dates.

Architecture & Design Museum Los AngelesArtCenter Arts for LA dublab Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles County Museum of Art OMG! Cameras Everywhere Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles Penland School of Crafts Tisch School of the Arts

Photo of Nara Hernandez
Nara Hernandez Visual Arts Director
Work Phone: (213) 389-1144
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Photo of Lilian Cervantes Pacheco
Lilian Cervantes Pacheco Visual Arts Coordinator
Work Phone: (213) 389-1144
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Photo of Claire Anna Baker
Claire Anna Baker Teaching Artist, Drawing and Painting
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Photo of Emmanuel Galvez
Emmanuel Galvez Teaching Artist, Drawing & Elementary Art Education
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Photo of Gary Garay
Gary Garay Teaching Artist, Studio Art & Screen Printing
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Photo of Pearl C. Hsiung
Pearl C. Hsiung Teaching Artist, Painting, Performance & Video
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Photo of Simone Montemurno
Simone Montemurno Teaching Artist, Introduction to Art and Mixed Media
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Photo of Orly Olivier
Orly Olivier Volunteer Teaching Artist
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Photo of Ryan Perez
Ryan Perez Teaching Artist, Photography
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Photo of Salvador Reyes
Salvador Reyes Teaching Artist/Mixed Media
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Photo of Michael Russo
Michael Russo Teaching Artist/Ceramics
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Photo of Yair Sarmiento
Yair Sarmiento Artist Mentor in Residence
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Photo of Dusty Tailor
Dusty Tailor Teaching Artist, Printmaking
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Photo of Patricia Yossen
Patricia Yossen Teaching Artist/Sculpture, Mixed Media & Art History
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HOLA designs artwork for Staples Center Suite

HOLA was invited by AEG to create art for a newly remodeled suite. The room was inspired by DTLA and the iconography extended from Griffith Park to MacArthur Park. The central mural was designed and painted by HOLA Alumni and Artist Mentor in Residence, Yair Sarmiento. The surrounding canvases were painting by HOLA youth, ages 11-17, who volunteered their time during their summer breakWe are grateful for the support of the HOLA faculty to complete this project by the very tight deadline. We also received […]

Beneath the Surface Art Residency

HOLA visual arts students have been learning about the drought and its impact on their city, and have been creating art to explore their findings.  Beneath the Surface is a public art workshop organized by Jonas Becker, artist-in-residence at HOLA and interdisciplinary visual artist who uses art to explore our cultural hopes, fears and beliefs. Bringing together guests with valuable expertise, including Lisa Bechtold (archivist), Caitlin Craggs (animationist), and Avishay Artsy (KCRW radio journalist), Jonas asked his students to use photography, animation, journalism and filmmaking as […]

Volunteer Spotlight: Julia Parris AKA Future

When bi-coastal photographer and art director Julia Parris was first being introduced to our students in August, one student called out: “Future! You’re from the future! Hi, future girl!” Ever since then, students have called her all variations of Future, Ms. Future, Future Girl. “It’s hilarious! I’m pretty sure many of them don’t know my real name,” she chuckles. An HOLA volunteer superstar, Julia aka Future tells me she has been an artist as far back into her past as she can remember. When I ask her about her life […]

New Year, New Collaborations at HOLA

With the winter quarter well under way, we’re pleased about the many fun and educational collaborations that have taken off at HOLA.  To celebrate all the love and support of our teachers, directors, staff, volunteers, students and families, we wanted to share with you what’s new in our cozy corner of the universe. Over in Athletics, some of our middle school girls have begun training to run a 5k with the help of nonprofit Girls on the Run. The program is designed to inspire girls to be joyful, […]

fresh stART Raises Funds for HOLA Visual Arts

Last Saturday night, February 6th, the Santa Monica Art Studios filled with over 800 guests who came ready to makeover their homes with some stunning art — while also supporting a great cause. Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) was honored to be this year’s beneficiary of the McCall Family Foundation’s annual event that raises funds for a chosen non-profit as well as the artists, with a 60/40% proceed split. Founded in 2001, fresh stART was created to fund art education programs that serve children designated “at-risk.” Fresh […]

High School Photography Workshop Exhibits at LACMA

During winter break, 28 teens from 15 different schools learned the difference between making a photo and taking a photo, in the intensive and internationally known Fred Roberts Photography Workshop. Founder Fred Roberts, explained on the first day, “This is not a photography workshop. This is a practice in empowerment. The cameras are just the tools for self-expression.” With the support of Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Fred and a band of highly experienced photographers guided a course that didn’t just focus on the technical aspects of photography such as aperture settings and shutter speed. Over seven days, the students absorbed […]


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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