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Performing Arts Workshop helps young people develop critical thinking, creative expression, and essential learning skills through the arts.


Some say that art is everywhere. But high quality arts education isn’t in every young person’s life.


Performing Arts Workshop is a more than 50-year-old nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA. It all started in the 1950s when Gloria Unti created an electrifying, no-holds-barred creative workshop for gang members, “juvenile delinquents,” and high school dropouts.


We’ve come a long way since our days as a neighborhood project:  

  • Over 4,000 at-risk students take our creative writing, creative movement, world dance, and theatre arts classes, in school and after school, each year.

  • We are one of the few nonprofits in the country awarded multiple federal grants to study our program’s effectiveness as a model for others. Those research projects prove that students who participate in our programs perform better in school, develop critical thinking skills, and are more engaged in learning.

  • We are one of the few arts education organizations that play a prominent and leading role in local, regional, and federal advocacy efforts. In March, our staff went to the California State Capitol for a day of lobbying in support of arts education. 


Nothing should stand in the way between a child and a well-rounded education. With your help, we can be in schools, community centers, and juvenile detention centers, year after year, no matter what’s happening in D.C. or in closed-door budget talks.