Tag Archives: arts education

Support Design for Sharing


The Design for Sharing program at CAP UCLA has transformed the lives of over half a million Los Angeles students and their teachers since it was founded 47 years ago in 1969. To give you an idea of what Design for Sharing means to the students and teachers of LA, here are their own words:

I had lots of fun because we got to build a violin. Thank you for letting us go to your school. I loved it when we got to learn about the instruments around the world.
– Amy, Catskill Avenue Elementary School

When I finish high school, I am going to UCLA, and I am joining the dance program. I was planning to quit dance and start swimming, but seeing you guys I decided to carry on with my passion for dance. Thank you for inspiring me and encouraging me to keep dancing!
– Destiny, Southeast Middle School

I really enjoyed the creativeness and originality of the play. This performance showed me that anything is possible and that everyone has the right to share their story and be themselves. […] Never stop doing what you love.
– Tess, San Pedro High School

What an immensely powerful performance and a valuable experience for students to be on a college campus: many students said things like, “Can’t you see yourself being a college student now?” THANK YOU!
– The 8th Grade Faculty, Camino Nuevo Middle School

DFS: 45 (Years), Half a Million (Kids) and 4.5 (Bucks)

It’s Welcome Week on campus. Freshmen are moving in to their dorms, professors are returning to their offices, and the marching band is rehearsing every afternoon.  In just a few short days, UCLA classes will be back session, and Design for Sharing’s free K-12 programs will be officially underway, too.  

Down here in the Center’s offices in the basement of Royce Hall, we’ve spent the last month getting ready to welcome a brand-new crop of students from public schools across our city. It’s a thrill to watch our inbox fill up with RSVPs for our free Demonstration Performances, and hear what teachers and kids are most excited about. 

 There is a lot of great art to look forward to this year, as always, but this fall we’re also looking back on how far we’ve come. For the last 45 years, Design for Sharing has brought a world of creativity and inspiration to public school students in Los Angeles. More than half a million students have experienced performances in Royce Hall or participated in a hands-on arts activity with DFS.

 Check out this photo, from one of our early years (circa 1973, guessing from the hairdos).


 The striking thing about this shot is the familiarity of it, the timelessness.   It would be easy to recreate this scene out on the quad before a Demonstration Performance, even now.  The very first season of Demonstration Performances featured chamber music, ballet and Shakespeare.  It was just five performances, and brought around 3,000 students to Royce Hall.

Today, Design for Sharing performances and workshops attract close to 15,000 students a year for a diverse line up of world music, contemporary dance, and innovative theater.

We present artists and art forms that were practically unimagined 45 years ago. We’ve seen trails blazed and envelopes pushed, and we’ve shared it all with eager young minds. We’ve been surprised, an often moved, by how students connect with ideas that are not just new to them, but new to everyone.  And still, there’s a sense of continuity. The smiles, the uncertainty, the excitement and curiosity—we still see all of that at every event we host (and the UCLA students still lounge under the portico arches).

It’s still a little bit magical.

Over the years, we’ve had to evolve, not just artistically but logistically, too.  We’re not just providing free performances any more: we’re subsidizing buses. Transportation seems like such a boring, utilitarian thing when we’re talking about sharing inspiring art, but for most of our schools, it’s actually the least attainable item on their special activity budget.  So, it’s become a larger and larger portion of our budget. We’re aiming to offer 200 free buses this season!

You can help us celebrate our 45th year, and help us expand our legacy of generosity by adding $4.50 to any CAP UCLA ticket purchase. There is an automatic option to make this gift when you buy CAP UCLA performance tickets online, or you can add it to any phone order placed at the UCLA Central Ticket office.

 The cost of a DFS Demonstration Performance in Royce Hall—where kids often take their first seats in a professional performance space, have their first interaction with professional artists and get their first glimpse at a college campus—averages less than $20 per student, including bus transportation to UCLA.

 A lot has changed since our visionary founders started us on this journey back in 1969, but our core mission remains: we continue to make world-class performances available to young audiences; we continue to welcome thousands of students to our beautiful campus each year, and we will always be excited when a bus load of kids get to see something wonderful and new.

 Our next year of sharing the arts begins on September 25, with DakhaBrakha. More than a thousand students will experience this group from the Ukraine. They’ll see instruments and hear sounds and songs they’ve never encountered before.

You can check out the rest of our events here.  We hope you’ll join us–everyone’s welcome.

A Swell of Pride: Design for Sharing, Community School and Making Arts Come Alive for Kids

Design for Sharing , CAP UCLA’s free K-12 arts education program, has a long history of making the arts accessible for young audiences. Using the arts to encourage creativity, learning and exploration , DFS offers professional performances and hands-on arts activities to public school students across Los Angeles.  Since our founding in 1969, more than half a million students have experienced the thrill of a live performance in the iconic setting of Royce Hall.

In 2008, we undertook a new project, hoping to give students an opportunity to go beyond the one-time experience of observing an arts event and become active participants in the creative process. Working closely with the faculty of the about-to-open UCLA Community School, we developed the Design for Sharing Residency Program: a 22-week series of in-class dance, movement, theater, creative writing and visual arts activities taught by professional teaching artists from Design for Sharing and local dance company CONTRA-TIEMPO.

This year—the fifth of this successful partnership –we explored the theme “Pieces of Us”, asking 200  4th, 5th and 6th graders to consider the various roles we all play in our communities and what helps us to create our own individual identities.

We began, way back in September, with simple exercises that encourage students to express themselves vocally and physically.  We moved on to salsa rueda, a form of salsa danced in a circle with a leader calling out the steps. Later, students applied those skills to devise their own creative movement representing ideas culled from their weekly writing assignments.

The sixth graders, many in their third year with us, also took on the idea of power.  Using movement activities and writing prompts, they reflected on the power structures they encounter every day, how power can be abused, and how it can be shared.  Some of their insights were included in a group poem:

We have the power to choose!

I have the power to speak and to listen

I choose to follow the golden rule

I choose to be respectful,

To be a kind person

I see smiles around the world

I understand that each person is unique

It matters that I have freedom

I have the power to share my feelings

I have the power to change my thoughts

I have the power to defend myself with words

Everyone deserves their own rights

I choose to be joyful every day

We have the power to choose!

Students created collage self-portraits using varied photos of themselves and words from their poems. The completed self-portraits became the backdrop for their presentation.

A few weeks ago, they had the chance to share these lines, and others at the program’s culminating dance and spoken word presentation.  Our students gathered in a crowded auditorium, packed with younger schoolmates and smiling parents to present the poems, creative movement and salsa rueda they had worked on all year.

In that setting, with creaking folding chairs and smartphone cameras clicking away, it’s easy to focus on the cute factor.  Of course it is cute. Kids dancing and reciting poems are undeniably adorable.  But it is important to remember that we have asked these students to do something that most adults struggle with: to think abstractly, express themselves honestly, and create a community where everyone feels safe enough to do so.

We couldn’t help but feel a swell of pride as we watched our fifth class of Residency program participants dance their last rueda, moving around the circle like clockwork.  The dance seems simple on the surface—the steps aren’t complicated, the caller keeps everyone on track—but a successful rueda demands that the participants, both individually and communally, choose to be fully present.  That’s the foundation of human connection and the prerequisite for creativity.  And it’s a lot harder than it looks.



Our Youngest Audiences

We do lots of cool stuff. Often with UCLA students and campus groups. Regularly with artists who change our lives as they pass through.

And through our K-12 Design for Sharing (DFS) program (which began in 1969) every year we have incredibly rewarding moments with younger students from all over this city. DFS events and initiatives ensure that experiencing art, making art and learning about art is a part of the lives of school kids from all over Los Angeles.

In the current economic climate, the existence of art in our public schools is not a given. It takes organizations like us to do what we can to fill in the gaping holes of arts education. (By the way, if this is something near and dear to your heart and you’d like to get involved or donate, we would love to hear from you.)

We’re proud to say more than 14,500 public school students from across Los Angeles participated in DFS programs and activities this year.

CAP UCLA’s DFS presented 11 Demonstration Performances, bringing public school students to UCLA to experience a diverse slate of art forms and artists in a live-performance setting.

Some inspirational highlights include Bajofondo’s modern mix of electronic beats and acoustic tango from Argentina, which had our High School audience dancing in the aisles. Post-show, backstage, these amazingly generous and energetic performers were definitely feeling the love and effusive in their appreciation of the engaged student audience. It was one of those truly uplifting moments that just made everyone in the band and everyone who works here smile for the rest of the day.

Bajofondo's Argentine style and instrumentation thrilled the DFS student audience.

Israel’s Yemen Blues took us from Bedouin rhythms to New Orleans brass with their unique blend of American, African and Arabic sounds and made a powerful connection with an audience of kids who may never have heard such a fusion of sounds before.  The group uses music to perpetuate the powerful idea that “it doesn’t matter where you come from, your language is my language.”

At one point, lead singer Ravid Kahalani brought out a lap-top and Skyped in his young daughter to be part of a performance for her peers. He panned the screen toward the audience who greeted her with applause and cheers.

The cheeky Australian Circus Oz was a spectacle of unrelenting energy, humor, grace and strength.  These performers, by virtue of their circus antics are naturally inclined to bring out childlike glee from audiences young and old, but their pre-show interactions with the students in the hall were pure joy to witness. Nothing reverberates in Royce Hall like the sound of a thousand children laughing together.

Circus Oz performers hamming it up with students lined up for the morning performance.

And this group dedicated their performances to the concepts of compassion, community and celebrating diversity, something that completely resonated with the student audience.

Back To Back Theater shared provocative, moving theater featuring actors with intellectual disabilities. The high-schoolers who attended this performance were incredibly gracious and fearlessly inquisitive during a post-performance Q&A with the artists.

California-based AXIS Dance challenged our expectations of contemporary dance with their beautiful collaboration between dancers with and without disabilities.

DFS also annually presents small-group workshops for the youngest elementary school students through the “My Special World” program.   From Project Trios urban update of Peter and the Wolf to Dr. Craig Woodsons global instrument-making program A World Orchestra You Can Build, nearly 1,000 students in second through fourth grades experienced the arts in an intimate, interactive setting.

This year, we expanded that format to create intimate workshop opportunities for older students as well. At three of these new Performance Workshops, 240 Middle and High School students saw how professional artists create and rehearse new works, and had the opportunity to ask questions, learn new movements, and share some of their own work with dancers from CONTRA-TIEMPO and Akram Khan Company.

We were also proud to partner with composer and music educator John Zeretzke to bring his Flutes Across the World project to three 6th grade classrooms.  In a three-part series of activities at UCLA and in their classrooms, students learned about flutes used in various cultures worldwide and throughout history.  Each student made a pair of twin flutes—one to keep and play, and one to send overseas with a Flutes Across the World Ambassador on humanitarian music missions for children in need in Africa, Haiti or Central America.

Design for Sharing also continued our successful Residency Program at UCLA Community School.  A collaboration between UCLA and Los Angeles Unified School District, the UCLA Community School is an urban education partnership that brings the university’s world-class resources to one of central Los Angeles’ most underserved neighborhoods. The goal of the DFS Community School Arts Residency Program is to give students an opportunity to go beyond the one-time experience of observing an arts event and become active participants in the creative process.  Residencies are structured over a 22-week period and are taught by professional teaching artists who work in collaboration with classroom teachers. Teaching artists from Design for Sharing and CONTRA-TIEMPO worked with 200 fourth, fifth and sixth grade students.

Through a series of dance, movement, theater, visual arts and creative writing activities, students explored the theme “We Stand Up.”

Students, teachers and teaching artists learned to respect and value each others’ unique creative voices. Participants wrote honestly and beautifully about what they believe in, what they stand for, and what they want, need and strive for.  This was the program’s fourth year, and we’ve been thrilled to watch this group of kids blossom into creative, thoughtful and empowered young scholars and creators.   The final presentation of their dance and spoken word performance pieces warmed our hearts and brought a few tears to our eyes.

Students  took their writings and distilled the ideas into a few simple words and phrases that became these amazing and inspirational mobiles.

Community School students work on their We Stand Up mobile projects.


Design for Sharing’s demonstration performances, workshops, residency program and bus transportation is only made possible through the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations.  CAP UCLA is supremely grateful to our stalwart supporters who have helped to make the 2012-2013 season happen.

Part of making all this happen is making sure the students can get to the UCLA campus, a feat that’s harder than you might imagine! Thanks to continued contributions to DFS’  Perloff Memorial Bus Fund we were able to  subsidize 132 buses for Demonstration Performances and 16 buses for My Special World/performance workshops, which helped more than 9,600 public school students get to campus.

We’re incredibly grateful to the artists and donors who continue to support this program. We know firsthand  it has an impact. This past season we were also thrilled to have an intern in our office who, during his elementary school years, attended DFS performances here at UCLA. Now he’s a student in the World Arts and Cultures department!

Complete List of 2012-2013 Design for Sharing Events:

Demonstration Performances at Royce Hall

Axis Dance Company


Vijay Iyer


Yemen Blues

Lula Washington Dance Theatre

Back to Back Theatre

Circus Oz

David Wax Museum

California Guitar Trio

UCLA Philharmonia


My Special World/Performance Workshops

Akram Khan Company

CONTRA-TIEMPO (2 workshops)

Dr. Craig Woodson (3 workshops)

Sherry Luchette & The Jazz Cats (2 workshops)

Project Trio (2 workshops)

John Zeretzke: Music of Appalachia

Flutes Across the World (3 workshops)