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Following the opening of the new Apple retail store at the historic Tower Theater in DTLA on June 24th, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Create Now, accompanied by Deirdre O’Brien, the company’s Senior VP of Retail + People. The Apple executives met a group of children from the Imperial Courts housing project in Watts who were creating music using the GarageBand app on the iPads they donated.

Create Now has received support from Apple for the past year as part of a grant program designed to foster creativity and use art for social good and the visit from company leadership comes as the organizations embark on another year of collaboration. With Apple’s support over the past year, Create Now has been able to expand its work to empower youth through arts programs, while also incorporating technology into creative learning. 

One example of this was the launch of a new virtual Graphic Design workshop taught by artist Beth Nesbitt. Junior and senior high school students at Foshay Middle School recognized the threat to our marine environment from the increased use of plastics, especially from takeout food eaten throughout the pandemic. Then, using MacBook Air laptops, the students’ final projects focused on creating logos that could be used for placement on reusable water bottles, canvas bags and T-shirts to promote their messaging.

The kids loved the program. Patricia wrote, “I’ve been taking more lessons on my own. You have done so much for me and so many other people.” Fiorella exclaimed, “Thanks so much for letting me be a part of this program. I’ve learned so much and I love everything we did!”

Another program Create Now was able to host with Apple’s support was a Photography workshop using iPads taught by rock music photographer Robin Laanaren for teenage foster girls living at Crittenton Services in Fullerton, Orange County. In just four classes, they learned how to take photos of the foliage at their facility, along with a Christmas tree and holiday cookies. As a result of the workshop, one girl now wants to pursue a career in photo editing.

And this spring, students at Marina Del Rey Middle School used MacBook Air to learn how to Vlog with artist Dante Barger. Special guests included YouTubers Brendan Jordan and Katie Legate. Student Kenny remarked, “Everything is art when u look at it. I love vlogging and digital art. I can make clips and then edit them.” Sherilyn stated, “I like that I can edit someone else’s clips.” 

David George is a teacher at the school. He remarked, “The Vlogging class was an absolute hit for our kids! They LOVED having the use of a MacBook Air and being able to become more adept with Apple applications. A student Nancy told me ‘One of the highlights of my 8th grade year was the Vlogging class.’ This was without question a tremendous opportunity for our students and we are grateful that Create Now could provide it for us.”

As a result of our partnership with Apple, Create Now is in the process of launching new programs to teach students how to use Procreate and Swift Playgrounds. We’re honored by the special visit with Tim Cook and Deirdre O’Brien, and thrilled with the support that Apple has provided. Not only are these children able to learn new skills and build their confidence, but they’re also being introduced to potential jobs and careers.

Click on the video to see the ABC7 News coverage of this visit