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Who We Are & What We Do


Budding Artists seeks to stimulate a more inclusive and creative global society by providing transformative, intergenerational and process-focused art experiences for pre-kindergarten children and their families in under-resourced communities.

Our Values

Budding Artists' values serve as the unchanging beliefs that serve as a touchstone during the constantly evolving nature of our organization. These are the principles through which Budding Artists is guided in every aspect of its work, including decision making. Our values are listed below.

  • Accessible

  • Accountable

  • Anti-Racist

  • Caring

  • Collaboration

  • Community

  • Compassion

  • Creativity

  • Equity

  • Exploration

  • Family-Oriented

  • Grassroots

  • High Quality

  • Inclusive

  • Integrity

  • Learning

  • Nurturing

  • Openness/Honesty/Transparency

  • Partnerships

  • Service

  • Sustainability

  • Wellness

Strategic Plan

Click the below image to view our 2023-2025 Strategic Plan.

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Our Story

In October 2018, Budding Artists was established by Dakota McMahand-Owens to create sustainable change in under-resourced communities of color. Our project objective is to provide free process-based art experiences to children ages 3 -5 to prepare students for successful participation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs during elementary school.  


STEAM is the movement of adding arts education (liberal arts, fine arts, music, design-thinking, and language arts) into the STEM field. The "A” in STEAM promotes curiosity and can create a pathway in attracting more students, specifically underrepresented ethnic groups and females into STEM fields. By participating in Budding Artists process-focused art programming, children will learn how to think critically, problem-solve and use creativity, which are all necessary skills needed in order to compete in this global economy. The primary issue Budding Artists is addressing is the lack of cultural and educational access and equity for children ages 0-5 in Los Angeles County.



Budding Artists is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and the SELA Artists Guild.

Meet the Team

Founder & Executive Director


Marisa Ervin, BFA

Teaching Artist 

Danielle Lawson Artist

Teaching Artist


Camilo Montoya

Board Member in Training


Board Member


Board Member


Board Member

Board Member

Become a Board Member 

Our board members provide oversight, leadership and have fun!

If you are interested in becoming a board member, please reach our to us at to learn more.

Learn More About Us 

Click the logo to learn more about us from these media outlets!

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Budding Artists

Awarded 2023 Women of Distinction


2023 #Changemaker of the Week

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Screen Printing Materials

Land Acknowledgement 

Every community owes its existence and vitality to generations from around the world who contributed their hopes, dreams, and energy to making the history that led to this moment. Some were brought here against their will, some were drawn to leave their distant homes in hope of a better life, and some have lived on this land for more generations than can be counted. Truth and acknowledgment are critical to building mutual respect and connection across all barriers of heritage and difference. We begin this effort to acknowledge what has been buried by honoring the truth. We nurture creativity on the ancestral lands of the Chumash, Tongva, and Kizh People. We pay respects to their elders past and present.


Please take a moment to consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlement that bring us together. #HonorNativeLand

What Are People Saying?

"This was so awesome!! My girls had an amazing time! They said they can't wait to go back! Thank you!!" - Parent, 2022 Pop-Up Photography Workshop

"It was fantastic per my five year old" - Parent, 2022 Pop-Up Photography Workshop

"My daughter often gets anxiety when asked to read for the class (Zoom),...but participating in these art classes has really helped her come out of her "shell"! Thank you so much for the support you provided to our children!! They need a boost in their self-esteem and start believing in themselves again!! This (coronavirus) pandemic cannot take their shine away!!" - Parent, 2020 December Online Winter Workshop  

This gave my son an opportunity to do something different than video games and watching television. It gave him an opportunity to draw freely anything that he pleased and he found that interesting.” 

–  2020 Process-Based Art Kit Parent/Guardian

100% of survey participants indicated the Process-Based Art Kit brought joy and hope into their homes during this current COVID-19 pandemic.

-2020 Process-Based Art Kit Survey

My child loved the experience of working with different tools, she is very introverted and has been coming out of her shell with a new interest in painting.”  –  2019 Summer Exploration Program Parent/Guardian

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