Developed by Department of Arts and Culture Creative Strategist Sandra de la Loza, an artist-in-residence with the Department of Parks and Recreation in 2019-2020, Creating Connections: An Arts and Culture Framework and Toolkit establishes standards for arts and culture as core programming across all County parks. Using extensive research, collective dialogue, and collaborative envisioning, the toolkit is guided by the importance of the principles of cultural relevance, equity, and inclusion. Inspired by the everyday activities that bring people to parks, Creating Connections contains a framework and practical tools to implement art and cultural programs centered around four themes: Art and Community, Art and Nature, Art and Wellness, and Art and Food. It is designed to support parks in functioning as vibrant, enlivened, and active spaces that provide opportunities for social and environmental connectivity and regeneration. It is primarily written for staff, program providers, community partners, and advocates of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
From Sandra de la Loza's Introduction
This framework and toolkit were designed to draw on the artistic and cultural expressions of Los Angeles County, from the traditional to experimental, ancestral to futuristic, and natural to urban. It envisions programming that creates space so that the stories, struggles, and dreams of all residents can be told, shared, and enjoyed. It approaches creative expression as a vital tool for inward and outward, personal and collective transformation. The themes of community, food, nature, and wellness can contribute to the integrity and strength of a larger structure, a holistic arts and culture program that has the potential to move toward deepening relationship to place and building intergenerational bonds across culture.
About the Artist
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.