The Department of Integrated Learning at Otis College of Art and Design in Westchester held its inaugural symposium Community Collaborations and Creative Solutions to Urban Violence in California on the campus April 9.

The symposium featured leaders in education, community partnerships and outreach and policymaking, with discussions focusing on dynamic strategies, successes, and possible next steps in developing effective solutions to urban violence, said a college spokeswoman.

Otis’ involvement in this area stems from its Homeboys History and Culture project, where “Eastside meets Westside in a dialogue between trained artists and self-taught artists about social identity, politics, and culture,” the spokeswoman said.

Otis students and participants in the Homeboys History and Culture project over the last three years gathered to reflect upon their experiences.

Presenters included Otis College Associate Professor Ysamur Flores-Pe—a, who created the Homeboys History and Culture project three years ago for the Department of Integrated Learning.

In this class, Otis students integrate their artistic skills and learn to be sensitive to culture, identities, and communities different from their own. The students conduct research, do field studies, and ultimately develop a project proposal that is presented to the Otis and Homeboy Industries communities.

Joining Flores-Pe—a were Homeboy Industries Associate Executive Director Hector Verdugo, Homeboy Industries counselor Fabian Debora and Theresa Gartland, curriculum and program director of Urban Compass in South Los Angeles.

The forum’s moderator was Keu Reyes, the creator and producer of Latino 101.

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