In April 2017, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission (now Department of Arts and Culture) released the Cultural Equity & Inclusion Initiative (CEII) report, after an 18-month public process that led to the development of 13 recommendations for the LA County Board of Supervisors to ensure that everyone in LA County has equitable access to arts and culture, and to improve inclusion in the wider arts ecology for all residents in every community.
CEII was developed in response to a Board resolution in November 2015 directing the LA County Arts Commission to conduct "a constructive Countywide conversation about ways to improve diversity in cultural organizations" for all LA County residents, and focused on five key areas: staff, boards, audience, programming and creators/artists.
CEII Programs & Implementation
Since 2018, LA County Grantees are required to submit board-adopted statements, policies, or plans that outline their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access as part of their applications.
Building Creative Career Pathways for Youth analyzes opportunities for youth in 70 creative occupations in the creative industries as well as programs designed to help youth access those jobs.
The Creative Strategist program embeds artists in County departments to work alongside staff in a collaborative process to implement artist-driven solutions to complex civic issues.
The Report & Literature Review
- In November 2015, Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced a resolution that was unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors, directing the LA County Department of Arts and Culture to conduct “a constructive County-wide conversation about ways to improve diversity in cultural organizations” for all County residents. The Board specifically directed the Department of Arts and Culture to focus on key target areas:
- Boards of Directors
- Artist/Creators (added by the Department of Arts and Culture)
- In April 2017, the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative (CEII) report was released with 13 recommendations for the Board of Supervisors to ensure that everyone in LA County has equitable access to arts and culture, and to improve inclusion in the wider arts ecology for all residents in every community.
- On April 4, 2017, Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Sheila Kuehl introduced a motion, approved by the Board of Supervisors, that called for the implementation of four of the 13 recommendations:
- Develop a County Cultural Policy
- Require cultural organizations that contract with the County to include statements or plans for Cultural Equity
- Create access to work-based learning opportunities for teens
- Expand the Arts Internship Program for Community College students
- On June 26, 2017, the Board of Supervisors approved two motions to fund five of the 13 recommendations included in the CEII report. Previously, on March 14, 2017, Supervisor Hilda L. Solis had introduced a motion to implement a private developer requirement for civic art in the unincorporated areas of LA County, an additional CEII recommendation.
- In May 2018 Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl co-authored the historic motion that transitioned the LA County Arts Commission into a stand-alone County Department, a recognition of the vital role of arts and culture in one of the largest and most diverse counties in the country and one fo the nation's creative capitals.
- On June 23, 2020, Supervisor Hilda L. Solis introduced a motion, co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, to adopt the Countywide Cultural Policy.
- An Advisory Committee reflecting diversity in race and ethnicity, socio-economic background, gender, age, physical ability, LGBTQ status, arts discipline, and geography across LA County, led by three Co-Chairs who are leaders in the LA County arts ecology
- Fourteen Town Hall meetings in locations across LA County where 650 participants shared their experiences and ideas for improving cultural equity and inclusion in the arts
- Working Groups that honed ideas that emerged through the town hall process into formal recommendations and developed vision statements for each of the five key target areas
- The first-ever survey of arts organizations across LA County to measure the diversity of boards, staff, volunteers, and contractors
- Consultation with peers in New York and other cities to identify best practices in diversity, cultural equity, and inclusion in the arts
- Opportunities for the public to share their ideas anonymously, through an artist-led project
- A literature review that showed the current state of knowledge and conditions in the field
- Input from other LA County cultural institutions as well as local arts funders