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The Visual and Performing Arts Education Program (VAPAE) at UCLA is an important school-wide initiative that supports the creative and intellectual growth of UCLA undergraduates while providing much needed arts education curricula to children in underserved communities. Through rigorous collegiate course work, original arts education projects, engaging community lectures and educational experiences, VAPAE provides a range of opportunities for the community of Los Angeles to meaningfully engage with artists and educators.

VAPAE is comprised of several components that work together to support UCLA students as artists, educators, scholars and researchers:

The Arts Education Teaching Sequence, the core of the VAPAE Program, is a series of three courses that introduces students to the fields of the teaching artist, arts specialist and credentialed classroom teacher. Allowing students to first observe and then implement carefully developed arts-based units of instruction in actual classrooms over an extended period of time, VAPAE aligns its efforts with LAUSD Title I schools and UCLA affiliated partner sites to provide an enriched environment in which pupils can develop as creative beings and critical thinkers.

In addition to the Arts Education Teaching Sequence, VAPAE strategically curates its school-wide course offerings to accurately reflect the interests of the UCLA undergraduate population and the ever-changing landscape of the educational system. VAPAE students are exposed to current educational theories, new methods of pedagogy and effective collaborative practices that engender positive, lasting change in our partner school communities. The range of courses that VAPAE offers annually can include Socially Engaged Pedagogy in the Arts, Arts Programs in Correctional Institutions, Critical Media Literacy for Artist Educators, Arts in the Inclusive Classroom and Maximizing the Social-Emotional Benefits of Arts Education.

VAPAE develops and implements a variety of in-school, afterschool, and summer programs which promote arts-based community engagement for both undergraduates and K-12 pupils impacted by these innovative initiatives. VAPAE projects have been successfully piloted in a range of locations including the UCLA Hammer Museum, the UCLA William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, the Huffington Center at St. Sophia’s Cathedral, the UCLA Community School, and our other LAUSD partner sites. Each project is uniquely designed to fit the needs of its participants, and is implemented in ways that benefit the professional and creative development of all stakeholders including UCLA undergraduates and teaching artists, credentialed teachers and K-12 students along with their families and extended community members.

Participation in VAPAE requires substantial knowledge and expertise in the theory and practice of the arts in addition to generosity of spirit and empathy for others. Accordingly, VAPAE attracts UCLA students with tremendous talent and intelligence who have a deep commitment to strengthening our community through the arts and civic engagement.

The Visual and Performing Arts Education Program (VAPAE) is made possible through the generous support of the Rosenthal Family Foundation and the Ring Foundation. VAPAE also gratefully acknowledges the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, Shirley and Ralph Shapiro, Alan M. Schwartz, Merle and Gerald Measer, UCIRA and the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.

History of Arts Education in UCLA Arts