South Central, Los Angeles–White Hall Academy sits in a two-story brick building on 54th near Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. This is the same building that Tanisha Hall’s grandmother operated her Whitehouse Beauty Salon in after her grandparents, Marvin and Fannie White, bought the building in 1978.
“That’s why I called it Whitehall Arts Academy,” Hall relayed. “Their last name is White and my last name is Hall and so it’s really continuing my family’s legacy here.”
After renting the space from her grandparents Hall purchased the building from her grandparents in 2011.
Whitehall Arts Academy offers private and group lessons starting at $35. Hall says that most of her students take classes on a weekly basis. Whitehall Art Academy classes range from piano, guitar, drums, violin, as well as singing and dance lab. There are also tons of musical instruments for kids to rent who do not have their own.
Although the space now operates as a music and dance studio for the youth of South Central, Hall says her grandmother is still a familiar face in the building.
Hall just finished wrapping up the Music 4 L.A summer program. Due to the coronavirus pandemic that halted many in-person activities including sports, school and trainings, Hall was forced to move her courses strictly online.
The Music 4 LA summer 2020 session ran from July 11th through August 8th, ending with student performances for family and friends. In 2014, the City of Los Angeles approached Whitehall Academy with the idea of running the Music 4 L.A program.
At the time, the program was being run out of the Vision Theatre in Leimert Park. Hall agreed and oversaw the program, however, a change in leadership the next year saw Music 4 L.A funding halted.
“They decided that they wanted to change their funding and they were not going to continue the program. However, they found a way to continue it in Lincoln Heights. They just could not continue it over here, in this neighborhood,” said Hall.
Hall challenged the decision and advocated for continued funding for the Music 4 L.A program. After parents started complaining, Hall received a call from the Mayor’s office, telling her she could fund the program herself if she wanted to see it continue.
So she did. Hall funded a $60,000 yearly program to ensure students in South Central had the same access to musical training she did growing up.
Music has always been a huge part of Hall’s development, whose musical journey began when she started playing the piano at 1. After graduating college, she worked in the music industry for 15 years while also teaching music on the side.
“Doing those things I realized how important it was for the youth in this area specifically, to be able to have that same training and the same opportunities that I had. There is a lack of resources here if you want to take music classes,” Hall detailed.
Hall had friends who told her she could make more money if she took her art academy to places like the valley.
“That might be true, but, the westside and the valley do not need what I am offering. They have tons of music schools and tons of voice coaches and acting coaches. This area does not have any. I would rather make less money and stay here because this area actually needs the opportunities,” said Hall.
Enroll today: https://www.whitehallacademy.org
Visit Whitehall Academy on Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/whitehallartsacademy/