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Design school publishes anti-gun violence children’s books


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Patrick Hruby fills palates with paint before the poster-making workshop. The "Uncool" program was put together in memory of an Art Center teacher, Norm Schureman, who was a victim of gun violence.


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The program is called "Uncool," and workshops are centered around anti-gun violence. After reading an illustrated book, kids make posters depicting things and activities that are "cool."


Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Washington Elementary fourth grader Tae Brooks draws Naruto Uzumaki, a character from a Japanese manga series. This is the fifth workshop put on by Art Center and the Pasadena Public Library.

The Art Center College of Design, known world-wide for graduating hotshot illustrators and car designers, has inserted itself into one of the most pressing issues facing this country: gun violence.

The Pasadena institution published a series of four children’s books that illustrate what a gun-free world could look like.

One of the books, titled “Amos’ New Life,” by Vivian Shih, begins like this:

“Amos the Bullet was born in a cold place called the gun. One day, somebody shot the gun. Bang! Swoosh."

At first Amos breaks things, but when he meets ”useful” objects like pencils and lipsticks, he decides he wants to be more like them.

The series is part of “Uncool: The Anti-Gun Violence Project.”

To get the word out about the books, the Art Center's Helen Cahng led readings and workshops at libraries, donating books to the shelves and giving free copies to the workshop attendees.


Bjork to bring her children's art program to LA in June

Bjork Performs At Hammersmith Apollo

Jim Dyson/Getty Images

Bjork performs at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. She'll return to the L.A. area for several concerts this summer.

Bjork is returning to Los Angeles in June - and she's bringing something for the kids.

The Museum of Contemporary Art announced Thursday that it's collaborating with the Icelandic singer-songwriter for a new arts education project for students 9 to 14 years old. The free event will take place June 2, during the museum's monthly family day.

The workshop, called the "Biophilia Education Program" is named after Bjork's 2011 album and  based around an interactive iPad app. The hands-on program involves using technology to play music.

This video of a workshop held in Iceland in 2011 highlights the project. 

Bjork aims to bring "arts experience to children who might otherwise not have access to it, and engages children with learning difficulties  and disabilities," according to the museum's release.


Math by way of art: For Pasadena school, arts plus math is really adding up

Math Arts

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Third grade student Eder counts the amount he'll need to purchase art supplies to create a sculpture. The project is part of a grant funded endeavor that places teaching artists from the Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts with classroom teachers to help them teach integrated arts lessons.

Math Arts

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Kourtney (left) and Gina (right) work on sketching ideas for their sculptures in Ms. Grotts third grade class in Pasadena.

Math Arts

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Diego and a classmate share crayons as they work on their art sketches at Jefferson Elementary School in Pasadena.

Math Arts

Mary Plummer/KPCC

Teaching artist Melanie Moore Bermudez explains to a third grade class how to budget for their art project.

Math Arts

Mary Plummer/KPCC

Teacher Beverly Grotts helps third grader Uriah practice addition at Jefferson Elementary School in Pasadena.

Administrators and teachers are grappling with how to boost math scores to prepare students for an increasingly technology based work force.

Jefferson Elementary in Pasadena may hold some of the answers. The school's been using art to teach its students math.

On a recent visit, students were working on an elaborate art project. They were asked to sketch two ideas that would later become a 3D sculpture. The catch – the students were given a budget and a price list and could only use the art supplies they could afford.

Along with budgeting, the school's students have worked on art projects that helped them learn place value and the concepts of area and perimeter. But unlike dry textbook problems, the projects brought lessons to life.

"Even my more challenged students -- and I have about five of them -- the engagement is like 180 degrees. It’s like a different child," said third-grade teacher Beverly Grotts.


College enrollment rate for Latinos inches past whites for first time

Brock Cohen; Humanitas teacher

Jesse Diamond

A Grant High School class. Rates of college enrollment for Latinos is growing.

A  study by the Pew Research Center released Thursday shows that for the first time, Hispanics are enrolling in college at a higher rate than whites.

Researchers said that seven out of ten Latinos in the class of 2012 enrolled in college right after graduating high school. Rates of Latino enrollment surpassed that of white high school graduates by two percentage points.

That's a dramatic turnaround from 13 years ago, when only half of Latino high school graduates went on to college.

The study's authors said the numbers are a milestone, likely driven by a tight job market.

But all's not rosy.

The study also found Latinos are more likely than whites to be enrolling in community college, rather than four-year universities -- and more likely to study part-time. Latinos are also less likely than whites to finish their studies and earn that college degree.


Thousands of students show off their skills during talent show at Paramount Studios

Thousands of Los Angeles students are going to dance, sing, play instruments and show off other talents this weekend in the Big Apple -- or a replica of it anyway.

One of the country's largest talent shows will be held at Paramount Studios' "New York City" backlot in Hollywood on Saturday.  The competitors include more than 2,500 students from dozens of L. A. Unified  high schools and middle schools.

Rapper and Actor Nick Cannon will host the event and the performers will be judged by a guest panel, which includes Dancing with the Stars' Sharna Burgess.

Student winners will receive a share of more than $30,000 in scholarship funds. 

The invitation-only event is in its fifth year. It's sponsored by the district's after school branch, Beyond the Bell and is part of the district's Take Action Leadership Campaign,  a year long series of projects around the city aimed at helping develop student leaders.