The global budget crisis has led to cutbacks in school art programs all over the world. In 2011 Zanbeel Art launched a program that was geared to tackle this problem head on in its hometown of Los Angeles: SAALY (South Asian Art Literacy for Youth). The focus of this project is to provide workshops to students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who do not have exposure to the arts in their community.
SAALY made its debut in October 2011 with its pilot at The Watts Elementary School in South Los Angeles. An underprivileged school district, many students heres had never had art classes previously and knew absolutely nothing about the South Asian region.
Zanbeel Art handpicked accomplished artists to teach weekly art classes to the 5th grade on topics including portraits, sculpture, calligraphy, photography, and herb planting. Each class incorporated K-12 education standards which will be in affect in 2013. The courses were designed by teacher and education expert Cheryl Maletta Trujillo of California State University, Dominguez Hills.
True to Zanbeel Art's mission of bridging cultural gaps among future generations, the theme of the several week long course was "South Asia", where each course taught the students a little bit about a world they have never been to.
The 2012 program will incorporate an exchange element into it, where students at The Watts Elementary School will engage in an arts and crafts exchange with students in Karachi, Pakistan, arranged by The Citizens Archive of Pakistan.