LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF ARTS AND CULTURE AWARDS MORE THAN $4.5M FOR LOCAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS THROUGH ‘ORGANIZATIONAL GRANT PROGRAM’

Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture has announced $4,518,000 million in grant awards through its Organizational Grant Program (OGP). The awards will provide two-year grants for 231 nonprofit arts organizations.

OGP is Los Angeles County’s flagship arts grant program, providing funding support for a diverse and inclusive ecology of arts nonprofits. Grantees span the breadth of the arts sector and reflect a rich array of artistic and cultural forms. They vary in size, budget, and discipline—ranging from arts education to theater and dance to visual, media, and literary arts. They deliver diverse arts and cultural services with venues and programs across LA County communities—folk music in South El Monte (Hernandez Mariachi Heritage Society), for example; equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives (Long Beach Opera); an after-school mural program in West Hollywood (Arts Bridging the Gap); and arts education and concert operations in Sylmar (Wesley Music Ministries). (View a full list of grantees.)

"The Organizational Grant Program has strengthened the work of LA County’s arts organizations since the 1940s. Today, this program is critical to helping the local arts ecosystem thrive through the inclusion of arts organizations that exemplify culture, traditions, and artistic creativity that celebrate the diversity of this County," said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair, Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. "OGP ensures our residents, especially those in historically under-served areas, have access to arts and culture services, and all the individual benefits and community connections that those services bring."

Awards range from $1,500 to $107,500, depending on the needs and size of the organization. The awards are flexible—they can be used to support any number of current critical needs from organizational staffing and infrastructure to programming. South LA’s LA Commons, for example, and East LA’s Las Fotos Projects, which inspires teenage girls through photography and self-expression, will use the grant award to pay performers and teaching artists, and defray production costs. Both are fiscally-sponsored organizations—applying to the grant under the umbrella of a 501(c)(3)—that are receiving funding for the first time. The Strindberg Laboratory will deepen its theater engagement with incarcerated populations and underserved communities. Turnaround Arts: California will use the award to support key staff positions as the first-time grantee continues in its mission to transform high-need school districts and communities through the arts.

"We know how much vibrancy, well-being, and resiliency that cultural resources bring to individuals and to communities. Especially in the wake of the pandemic, the Organizational Grant Program’s resonance and impact in the local arts sector cannot be underestimated, and its role in sharing these benefits equitably is critical," said County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell.

"The Organizational Grant Program is a vital and core function of the Department of Arts and Culture. These grants ensure public sector funding support for the arts, which employs artists and the cultural workforce, and increases access to the arts for the diverse communities of LA County," said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. "The number of organizations that apply and receives funds grows each year, so we know the program is strengthening the infrastructure of the arts ecology in this region, and in turn, improving the quality of life for County residents."

OGP Background and Review Process
Since 1947, the Department of Arts and Culture (formerly the LA County Arts Commission) has provided funding for LA County arts and culture organizations that reflect the rich diversity of the region. In addition to direct funding, OGP grantees receive professional development and training opportunities, spanning from workshops addressing cultural and racial equity to grant writing and human resources. Of the 231 2021-22 OGP grantees—located in 48 of the County’s 88 municipalities—11% percent are receiving this funding for the first time. OGP grantee organizations encompass such disciplines as arts education, dance, literary, media arts, multidisciplinary, music, choral and opera, theater, traditional and folk art, and visual art.

Applications for the OGP program were reviewed and scored by 75 diverse expert panelists from the Los Angeles region’s robust community of cultural workers, artists, curators, nonprofit arts administrators, arts funders, and arts educators. Award recommendations were reviewed by the Arts Commission and approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Testimonials from OGP Grantees
"We are honored to be a recipient of the LA County Department of Arts and Culture Organizational Grant Program award. Grants such as these are vital to arts organizations in Los Angeles; they afford us the flexibility and power to work side by side with our community members so that we can provide valuable arts experiences in the ways that make the most sense for our county," said Lucia Torres, Las Fotos Project Executive Director. "It is especially valuable in this time of recovery, when organizations such as ours are strengthening and rebuilding after such a tumultuous year."

"This OGP grant, LA Commons’ first, will make a critical contribution to our sustainability in a time of great instability—especially important given our roots in South LA, which continues to experience the worst effects of COVID-19," said Karen Mack, LA Commons Founder and Executive Director. "Operating at the intersection of art, community and social justice, we uplift the stories and voices of young people and their fellow community members. We are thrilled to join the LA County Department of Art and Culture as a partner in furthering a just, healthy and equitable Los Angeles driven by the creativity and resilience of local youth in the diverse neighborhoods of LA."

"This grant will make it possible to rebuild the sense of community that theater brings for the people who create our productions, and the audiences who attend these productions," said Michael Bierman,Strindberg Laboratory Executive Director.

"The communities Turnaround Arts: California supports have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the arts have played a critical role in providing a source of community and self-expression for our young students and their teachers during this challenging time," said Malissa Shriver, Turnaround Arts: CA Co-Founder and Board Chair. "We are honored to have the support of the LA County Department of Arts and Culture as we work with our partner schools to prepare for a supportive return to school with the arts as a core strategy for healing and engagement."

"We plan to use the award to support our educational programs," said Peggy Sivert Zask, CEO/Founder of SoLA Contemporary. "We are very excited to build on our ongoing artist critique program to include younger emerging artists who will be introduced to curatorial and preparator practices in addition to statement writing and digital promotional techniques."