Arts in Action is excited to announce its newly awarded and recurring projects for 2022! Each project leverages the power of the arts to address issues including environmental racism, health and wellness, restorative justice, spatial injustice, and traffic violence, and provides opportunities for USC students to engage with community partners and activists outside the university to generate solutions.


Architecture + Advocacy: Empowering South Los Angeles Youth with Community-Engaged Design –Students from the School of Architecture will lead a series of workshops taught with LA Commons. The workshops will teach design to students in South Los Angeles and empower them to share their stories, own their spaces, and make invisible struggles visible.


Comedy and Cancer A collaboration between the School of Dramatic Arts Comedy Program and the Adolescent and Young Adult Program at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center brings together patients, hospital staff, caregivers, and alumni to cope with illness through laughter. Weekly comedy-focused workshops will include improv, sketch comedy, and stand-up, to promote self-empowerment, community building, and provide tools to deal with the heavy burden of illness.


Comix from the Heart Vol. 02 – Student artists from the Iovine and Young Academy and the Roski School of Art and Design will use stories gathered from practitioners, patients, and researchers from the School of Pharmacy and the American Heart Association, to create a medical comics anthology. Comix from the HeartVol. 02 will bring attention to cardiovascular disease, risk factors, and prevention.


Here, My Voice 2 – Building upon a pilot program, Thornton School of Music vocal art students will support members of the hard-of-hearing community by integrating movement exercises provided by Kaufman School of Dance specialists. Local members of the Hearing Loss Association of America will pair up with students to receive personalized voice lessons to encourage the (re)discovery of their voices as a tool of self-expression.


Monuments + the Future of Memory: Remembering Willowbrook ­– In partnership with Willowbrook Inclusion Network and LA Commons, this ongoing project allows the School of Architecture faculty and students to design a series of virtual monuments using community collections and input from local youth artists to celebrate its local history and challenge the traditional memorial as an inert monument dedicated to hegemonic narratives of the past.


Peace Pods 2.0 – With support from Open Paths Counseling, USC students and faculty from the School of Dramatic Arts and Iovine and Young Academy will design portable spaces that facilitate community building after a period of isolation and physical disconnect. Participants can reset their senses and thoughts and follow up with playful moments involving movement, performance, music, sound, and the visual arts.


Performing Policy: The Justice Project – Students from the School of Dramatic Arts’ Institute for Theatre & Social Change and Price School of Public Policy will create an original theatre piece that brings together former perpetrators and survivors of violence and explores the transformative power of restorative justice. This performance project will incorporate intensive policy research, Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, and dialogues collected by Healing Dialogue and Action.


Sacrifice Zone: Los Angeles –  School of Dramatic Arts students will make interactive media and a docu-narrative toolkit inspired by the efforts of Esperanza Community Housing’s People Not Pozos Campaign. The project addresses the health risks of ongoing exposure to harmful pollutants in USC’s Southeast Los Angeles neighborhood and shares the campaign’s advocacy efforts with educators and community leaders to enact change.


University Park Slow Jams  – This creative call-to-action includes Price School of Public Policy Interns and Association of Planning and Development students collaborating with Public Matters, USC Kids Watch Ambassadors, and Los Angeles Walks. This project will blend socially engaged art and education with creative public acts to build street safety awareness and unite residents through meetings, workshops, public art events, and activities with the community council, students, and other community members.


Public events involving these projects will be announced in the upcoming months. To explore them and other Arts in Action projects in greater depth, please visit our projects page.