(Above) CSUN students create artwork as part of a voter engagement activity facilitated by Creative Strategist and artist Deborah Aschheim in collaboration with the Registrar-Recorder to raise awareness about their new Voting Systems for all People. Photo by Monica Almeida.

Funded by the LA County Board of Supervisors in 2017 and launched in 2018, the Creative Strategist-Artist in Residence (Creative Strategist) program embeds artists in County departments to work alongside staff, project partners, and community stakeholders in a collaborative process to develop, strategize, promote, and implement artist-driven solutions to complex civic issues.

So far, Creative Strategists have been placed at the Department of Mental Health, Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Health/PLACE working on the Vision Zero Initiative, LA County Library, Office of Violence Prevention and Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

The Artists


Deborah Aschheim

Deborah AschheimDepartment: Registrar-Recorder's Office (2019-20)
Bio: Deborah Aschheim makes installations, sculptures, and drawings about memory and place. Her work exploring collective memory and place-based narratives combines studio production with oral history and community engagement. Aschheim’s solo exhibitions include the Barrick Museum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; the Richard Nixon Presidential Library; Suyama Space in Seattle, San Diego State University; the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh; Otis College and Laguna Art Museum. She has created public artworks for Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey; for the Sandler Neurosciences Center at UCSF; for Amazon.com in Seattle; for the City of Sacramento and the Los Angeles Police Department. Aschheim has been artist-in-residence at The MacDowell Colony; Headlands; McColl Center, Bemis and Roswell Artist-in-Residence programs, and was the inaugural Hellman Visiting Artist at the Memory and Aging Center in the Neurology Department at UCSF. She has received grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, the California Community Foundation and the City of Los Angeles. She lives in Pasadena.

The Project


Embedded in the Media, Communication and Creative  Services department, Deborah developed artistic approaches and engagement strategies to raise awareness of the County's new Voting Solutions for All People initiative in the months leading up to the presidential primary. Deborah's work sketching voters and capturing what inspires them to vote can be seen on Instagram @365DaysofVoters. This Spectrum News piece captured the work Deborah did engaging with students at community colleges around the County.

CSU Northridge Student Voter Engagement Event

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365 Days of Voters

365 Days of Voters

365 DaysofVoters is a visual diary created in partnership with LA County Registrar-Recorder (lavote.net) and Dept. of Arts & Culture

Spectrum 1 News CSU Northridge Student Voter Engagement Event

Spectrum 1 News Story

A news story capturing the work Deborah did engaging with students at community colleges around the County.

Sandra de la Loza

Sandra de la LozaDepartment: Department of Parks and Recreation (2019-20)
Bio: Sandra de la Loza is a community-engaged visual artist, art educator, and organizer who resides in Northeast Los Angeles where she grew up. Within her artistic practice, she supports communities in finding and documenting hidden social and ecological histories to strengthen community bonds, relationships to place, and support collective action toward community-led placemaking projects. She earned an MFA in Photography from Cal State Long Beach and a BA in Chicana/o Studies from UC Berkeley.

 

The Project


Developed in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreation, de la Loza's Creating Connections: An Arts and Culture Framework and Toolkit establishes standards for arts and culture as core programming across all County parks that are centered around four themes: Art and Community, Art and Nature, Art and Wellness, and Art and Food.

 

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Creating Connections

Creating Connections

Explore more about de la Loza's framework and toolkit.

Clement Hanami

Clement HanamiDepartment: Department of Public Health/PLACE Vision Zero (2018-20)
Bio: Clement Hanami is a Japanese-American visual artist who grew up in East Los Angeles. He received his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in Studio Art with a specialization in New Genres. His work has been exhibited in California, New York, and Mexico, and has been seen at the Geffen Contemporary, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Armory Center for the Arts, John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, California Museum of Photography, Long Beach Museum of Art, AFI National Video Festival, and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
 

Mr. Hanami is currently the Vice President of Exhibitions and Art Director at the Japanese American National Museum and his most recent projects include curating the exhibitions Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066 and Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo. He taught New Genres at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts for 20 years. He was a Cultural Affairs Commissioner for the City of Culver City from 2004 to 2010. He received a Getty Visual Arts Fellowship in 2000 and a COLA Artist Award in 2007 given by the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.

The Project

As part of the Vision Zero initiative, Clement is embedded in the Policies for Livable Active Communities and Environments (PLACE) program at the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention to conduct outreach and engagement with community residents located in the Collision Concentration Corridor of Westmont/West Athens. Clement is creating artworks informed by community input that raise awareness about traffic safety and Vision Zero.

Olga Koumoundouros

Olga KoumoundourosDepartment: Department of Public Health/Office of Violence Prevention (2019-20)
Bio: The artwork of Olga Koumoundouros uses earthly bound materials and the energy exchanged through acts of labor applied during its own process of making. This is combined with highlighting relationships to power: cultural, economic, and personal as it is consciously fore-fronted as well as historically buried or unconscious. Utilizing narratives from interview, rumor, and her own writing, she constructs art that considers multiple perspectives within these relationships and peoples’ efforts to provide sustenance to themselves collectively and individually. Koumoundouros is represented by Commonwealth and Council. Her work has been exhibited at venues nationally and internationally including most recently Human Resources, Armand Hammer Museum, REDCAT, Salt Lake City Art Center, Krannert Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Palm Springs Art Museum, The Studio Museum, Stadshallen Bellfort, Adamski Gallery, Project Row Houses, and The Tang Museum, among others. Olga was born in New York city and lives and works in Los Angeles.

The Project


Olga has brought an artistic lens to the new Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), within the LA County Department of Public Health. Through engagement with the Community Partnership Council, an advisory committee assisting OVP, and peer-to-peer interviews, Olga has developed The Solutions to Violence Storytelling Project. The project will use arts-based, trauma-informed storytelling techniques to collect and share stories of LA County residents who have experienced violence and/or racism.

María del Carmen Lamadrid

Maria del Carmen Lamadrid Department: Department of Arts and Culture (2019)​
Bio: María del Carmen Lamadrid is a media designer and tinkerer from Puerto Rico currently based in Los Angeles. She is interested in fostering collaborative research methods for civic design practices shaped by post-colonial theory. She completed her MFA in Media Design from ArtCenter College of Design’s Media Design Practice/Field, in partnership with UNICEF Uganda Tech4Dev and the award-winning Designmatters. Currently, she works as lead at SuperCommunity, a civic technologies and art collaborative in Los Angeles. She authored the Social Design Toolkit, a critic of neoliberal practices that foster structural inequality in Social Design. Her work has been recognized and featured in the 2009 National Art Sample of Puerto Rico, the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney, University of Brighton, and Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design and Americans for the Arts’s Public Art Network Year in Review 2018.

The Project


María​ collaborated with Arts and Culture staff on a community and stakeholder engagement plan and implementation, which supported the development of the County's forthcoming Cultural Policy, as well as the Human Resource Equity Summit.

Alan Nakagawa

Alan NakagawaDepartment: LA County Library (2018-19)
Bio: Alan Nakagawa is an interdisciplinary artist primarily working with sound, occasionally incorporating video, sculpture, drawing, paint, performance, food, and (most recently) perfumes. Nakagawa is currently the Creative Strategist Artist in Resident for LA County Library (2018-19) and Artist in Resident for California State University Dominguez Hills' Praxis Art/ Ninomiya Photographic Archive (2018-19).

He is the host of Visitings Radio Show on DUBLAB radio 99.1 FM, co-founder of the now defunct arts collective Collage Ensemble Inc. (1984-2011), and was the curator of Ear Meal Webcast (2010-2016). Nakagawa is a recipient of two Art Matters grants, City of Los Angeles Artist Fellowship, California Community Foundation Mid-Career Artist Fellowship, and a Monbusho Scholarship. He received a Masters of Fine Arts from University of California Irvine and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Otis/ Parsons School of Art and Design.

The Project


Alan worked with LA County Library to engage the community through the arts in five library locations, one in each of the County supervisorial districts. Using the vintage Japanese art of Kamishibai, Alan and LA-based poet Rocio Carlos led workshops with members of the community to develop original stories and illustrations. Alan designed and fabricated a Kamishibai theater for each library. Additionally, Alan and Rocio trained library staff to conduct community-based engagement workshops with the goals of deepening connections with their constituents and cultivating creativity.

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Kamishibai by Alan Nakagawa

Kamishibai Workshops

Explore the Kamishibai stories that were developed.

 

 

Anu Yadav

Anu YadavDepartment: Department of Mental Health (2019-20)
Bio: Anu Yadav is a critically-acclaimed writer, performer, and theater-based facilitator dedicated to art and social justice. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and holds an MFA in Performance from University of Maryland, College Park. She was the inaugural 2018 DC Public Library Artist-in-Residence and named a Person to Watch in American Theatre Magazine. She wrote and performed the solo shows Meena’s Dream and ‘Capers, and co-founded the storytelling collective CLASSLINES. She is a member of the Actor's Equity Association, the Dramatist's Guild, Alternate ROOTS, Network of Ensemble Theaters, and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. She was the 2019 Pasquin Visiting Artist at Beloit College, teaching, and devising theater for social change.

The Project


Anu created Healing Through Story: A Toolkit on Grassroots Approaches, a resource developed with and for Department of Mental Health staff. The toolkit focuses on the power of story as an arts-based healing process that promotes wellbeing and connection. It highlights community-building methods for listening and facilitation and includes interviews with community groups on how we heal. The toolkit is available online at HealingThroughStory.org. Americans for the Arts' ArtsBlog highlighted this work in their recent story on Artists as Essential Workers with and within Local Government.

 

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Healing Through Story

Healing Through Story

Healing Through Story is a toolkit focusing on the power of story as an arts-based healing process that promotes wellbeing and connection

Artist Are Essntial Workers with and within Government

Artists Are Essential Workers…

Read the story on Yadav's toolkit on Artsblog.

The Departments


Department of Mental Health

Department of Mental Health
The mission of the Department of Mental Health is to optimize the hope, wellbeing, and life trajectory of Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable through access to care and resources that promote not only independence and personal recovery but also connectedness and community reintegration. The Department of Mental Health (DMH) is the largest county-operated mental health department in the United States and operates programs in more than 85 sites. On average, more than 250,000 County residents of all ages are served every year.

 


Department of Parks and Recreation

Department of Parks and Recreation
The Department of Parks and Recreation meets the recreational needs of residents and visitors from all over the world through programming, facilities, land acquisition, environmental stewardship, and more! Today, the Department owns 182 beautiful parks including natural areas, wildlife sanctuaries, lakes, trails, arboreta, and botanic gardens and local, community, and regional parks. The Department also operates the largest municipal golf system with 20 courses at 18 locations and owns great cultural venues including the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre and the world famous Hollywood Bowl. The Department is committed to providing social, cultural, and recreational opportunities for all to enjoy.

 


Department of Public Health/Office of Violence Prevention

Department of Public Health/Office of Violence Prevention
The Department of Public Health/Office of Violence Prevention works to protect and improve health and well-being to over 10 million residents. One of the Department’s top priorities is to advance health equity. Research has increasingly shown that social and economic conditions contribute to approximately 40% of community health and longevity. Public Health is committed to reducing health disparities through collaborations with a wide-range of partners. The Department strives to support policies, practices, and programs that lead to healthier environments. Public Health's mission is to protect health, prevent disease, and promote health and well-being for everyone in Los Angeles County. With 14 Public Health Centers located throughout LA County, the Department provides free and/or low-cost services to those with no insurance or regular health care provider, including immunizations and communicable disease testing and treatment.

 


Department of Public Health/PLACE Vision Zero

Department of Public Health/PLACE Vision Zero
Vision Zero is a traffic safety initiative to eliminate traffic-related fatalities. It is an international movement that emphasizes a new approach to traffic safety, acknowledging that people make mistakes and focusing on system-wide practices policies, and designs to lessen the severity of collisions. 1 Agencies that adopt a Vision Zero initiative commit to the systematic elimination of traffic deaths and severe injuries for all roadway users. To achieve success, this approach requires data driven decision making, an understanding of health equity, multi-disciplinary collaboration within and outside of government, and regular communication with the public.

 


LA County Library

LA County Library
The Los Angeles County Library was established in 1912 under authority of the County Free Library Act. The Library is a special fund department operating under the authority of the County Board of Supervisors. Today it is the second largest library system in the nation, providing library services to over 3.5 million residents living in unincorporated areas and to residents of 49 of the 88 incorporated cities of Los Angeles County. The service area extends over 3,000 square miles. Supplementing the 7.5 million volume book collection, the Library also offers magazines, newspapers, government publications, and many specialized materials including online databases.

 


Registrar-Recorder's Office

Registrar-Recorder's Office
The Registrar-Recorder's Office is responsible for registering voters, maintaining voter files, administering federal, state, local, and special elections, and verifying initiatives, referenda, and recall petitions. LA County, with more than 500 political districts and 5.2 million registered voters, is the largest and most complex county election jurisdiction in the US. The RR/CC provides voter registration forms in 10 different languages in compliance with federal and state laws: Chinese, English, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.