Los Angeles County Arts Commission

Advancing arts, culture, and creativity throughout Los Angeles County.

Grantee Cohort Spring 2018, Spring 2019

Location Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding, and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County and provides leadership in cultural services. In addition to coordinating the Arts Education Collective, a public-private partnership dedicated to making the arts a core component of public education for LA’s 1.5 million students, the Arts Commission funds nearly 400 nonprofit arts organizations, manages the County’s civic art policy, and funds the largest arts internship program in the country.

Now more than ever, artists and nonprofit art and social justice organizations are paramount in building and supporting community. The unfolding economic crisis compromises their collective work and, through an Art for Justice Activating Art and Advocacy grant, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture will build upon its Art and Culture Forum: Arts and Advocacy virtual series to engage and support local social justice minded artists and movement builders. These conversations would show how these artists can engage beyond the election as artists as known to do.

Through its initial grant, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission launched the Arts and Youth Development Project, which aimed to support, heal, and develop youth and families in the criminal justice system and those at risk of involvement by engaging them all through art. The Project utilized a collaborative, arts-based approach to youth development to foster personal growth. In doing so, the Project aimed to dismantle the youth-prison pipeline and change the narrative about youth of color.

Art for Justice also supported the Commission’s partnership with Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) and Performing Statistics to create a five-day mini-residency of Performing Statistics’ touring exhibition in Los Angeles. The Performing Statistics exhibition featured art created by youth in Virginia detention centers and was created to start conversations among activists, policymakers, youth and the general public about juvenile justice systems and the need for reform. Following the exhibition, youth from Arts for the Los Angeles County branch of the Incarcerated Youth Network traveled to other cities along the tour, sharing information about the exhibit with other AIYN members, artists, educators and youth. At the same time as the tour, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission convened an interagency youth arts task force, that included multiple public agencies that work with vulnerable youth, to promote the role of the arts in all agency services for youth.