VIDEO: Grammy Winning Band Ozomatli Brings the Beat to Washington Elementary in a Day of Music and Arts Inspiration

Washington Elementary School echoed with infectious rhythms, uplifting songs and invigorating drumming sessions as Grammy award-winning band Ozomatli brought joy and creativity to students, who immersed themselves in an electrifying concert experience while embracing the fusion of music and artistry.

During the special May 7 visit, Ozomatli – renowned for its vibrant blend of musical styles and commitment to social activism – delivered live performances, insightful Q&A sessions and interactive classroom visits where students had the opportunity to learn about the band’s journey in the music industry.

"We were thrilled to welcome Ozomatli and grateful for their inspiring contribution to our school community," Principal Juanita Naranjo, Ed.D. said. "Their visit emphasizes the importance of arts in empowering creativity among our students and reinforces our commitment to providing them with enriching experiences that ignite a passion for learning."

With two Grammy Awards, a Latin Grammy and recognition as an official United States Cultural Ambassador, Ozomatli has been a mainstay in the Los Angeles music scene since 1995, playing a mix of urban Latino sounds.

“Music is fun. Music is important," Ozomatli guitarist and singer Raul Pacheco said. "Everybody loves music and if we can have a moment with kids to encourage that, we’ll have a good time."

The visit was coordinated by the nonprofit Turnaround Arts: California, which supports schools in using the arts to create joyful, equitable and inclusive learning environments where all students have the opportunity to succeed. As one of two Turnaround Arts schools in the District, Washington Elementary is provided with coaching, art supplies, funding and partnerships with local arts organizations to develop and implement a school-wide vision for the arts. 

“We get to do a lot of art in the school,” said sixth-grade student Destiny Turner, who aspires to be a singer and performer in the future. “I really like painting and dancing. It helps me focus more on the things I have to do. You get to show actions and emotions and it brings out your thoughts more.”

Recognized as an arts education pioneer, Lynwood Unified was commended by Turnaround Arts for its dedication to using arts as a vital educational tool, honoring Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite, Ph.D. with a Creative Leadership Award. Additionally, the District showcased its visionary approach to nurturing an arts-centric community at the LACOE Celebrating Arts Education with Equity and Vision event on May 1.

“At our Turnaround Arts schools, innovation and imagination are thriving, student engagement and achievement are improving, and school cultures are radiating with positivity,” Crosthwaite said. “Art teaches our students about the potential impact of their imagination and gives them the freedom to express it, and we are grateful to be able to provide our students with enriching and powerful learning experiences.”