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Ciera Payton is a teaching artist and educator to hundreds of students throughout Los Angeles and New Orleans. She believes art education is essential to our society because the arts give voice to voiceless. She has collaborated with a number of youth organizations in teaching young people how to use art as their fuel to heal, evolve and succeed in life.In addition to being an arts educator Ciera created an runs the non-profit organization The Michael’s Daughter Project. This organization provides scholarship funds and arts programs to youth coping with incarcerated and/or drug addicted parents.



The annual Michael’s Daughter Project was founded and created by Actress Ciera Payton. Ciera Payton was inspired to begin the Michael’s Daughter Project after writing her one-woman show, Michael’s Daughter, which chronicled her relationship with her incarcerated father through a series of letters. Payton found refuge in the arts during her difficult childhood and teenage years growing up in the third ward of New Orleans. This compelled her to start her own arts program as an adult.

The Michael’s Daughter Project began in 2014 when Payton was awarded an Artists-in-Residence grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs to present the program at Casa Esperanza. The goal of the grant was to bring arts programs to underserved areas in Los Angeles in an effort to enrich the community and surrounding neighborhoods. Blythe Street is located in a neighborhood with severe poverty and gang violence. Many of the youth are at risks of dropping out of school and joining gangs.

Over the past few years, Payton has used her talents and experience to help these students with acting and creative writing. The final presentations are always the highlight of the summer. Through this experience, the students learn how to be leaders in their community. And the leaders of our future generations.

Her work with the Michael’s Daughter Project did not go unnoticed. She was awarded the Los Angeles Pioneer Woman of the Year Award by Councilwoman Nury Martinez on March 26, 2016, at City Hall. This award honors the contributions of individuals who serve the city by advancing the status of women and girls.

The Michael’s Daughter Project has been made possible by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the office of Councilwoman Nury Martinez and Casa Esperanza Blythe Street.

For more information about the Michael’s Daughter Project email info@michaelsdaughter.org.


June 13, 2018

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