Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture Receives Four National Association of Counties Achievement Awards

Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, in its first year as a department of the County of Los Angeles, has been recognized with four Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The Department of Arts and Culture received three 2020 NACo Achievement Awards in the Arts, Culture, and Historic Preservation category:

Community Impact Arts GrantCommunity Impact Arts Grants: Using Zip Codes and Census Data to Measure Community Reach, which addressed the Department’s use of data to measure the impact of a new pilot grant program designed to provide arts services to residents who do not typically have access to the arts. The Department of Arts and Culture met this challenge by creating a new “community reach” metric that utilized easily accessible data and tools to measure the success of the pilot program. This new metric is now being used to evaluate other programs and as a model for the field, both locally and nationally.


Fort Moore Memorial Refurbishment ProjectThe Fort Moore Memorial Refurbishment Project details a four-year-long collaborative effort between the Department of Arts and Culture and the LA County Department of Public Works to repair and restore the Fort Moore Memorial, which was built in 1957 and includes large bas-reliefs of scenes depicting the modern development of Los Angeles and an 80-foot waterfall fountain. The project included an innovative approach to expanding the inclusion of diverse communities in civic engagement through the collection of items for a new time capsule that reflected what residents and community organizations wanted the future to know about their present Los Angeles County.

LA County Arts Internship ProgramThe Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program (AIP), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, supports and strengthens the cultural sector of LA County by providing access to high quality opportunities for college students of all backgrounds to gain experience, understanding, and transferrable skills relevant to careers in the arts. Established in 2000 as a companion to the Getty Foundation’s Marrow Undergraduate Internship Program, AIP allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the work involved in nonprofit arts administration, better understand the role of arts in communities, and develop skills that can be put to use in their future careers. It does this by providing grants to nonprofit performing, presenting, film, media, literary, and municipal arts organizations to hire students to engage in specific projects. It also facilitates educational and networking opportunities for the participating interns. To date, more than 2,000 students have received paid work experience through this program and have contributed more than one million work hours to nonprofit arts organizations. Many have gone on to pursue further careers in and lead local arts organizations.

Part of the Solution Yes to ADUAdditionally, in the Community and Economic Development Category, the Department of Arts and Culture collaborated with the Chief Executive Office Homeless Initiative, Departments of Public Works and Regional Planning, and the Los Angeles County Development Authority on the NACo Award-winning project: County of Los Angeles ADU Pilot Program. In October 2017, LA County implemented Development of the Second (Accessory) Dwelling Unit Pilot Program, which is one of many strategies established to combat homelessness in LA County. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are residential units with a kitchen that are located on the same property as the primary residence. The Department of Arts and Culture conceived and led the Part of the Solution: YES to ADU design competition and exhibition part of this project, mobilizing architects, designers, planners, and creative strategists to communicate the potential of ADUs as a source of income, an avenue for civic engagement, and a tool to alleviate LA County’s housing crisis.

I am proud that our Department of Arts and Culture is a being recognized as an exemplary leader among county arts agencies, serving our many multifaceted communities in the advancement of arts, culture, and creativity, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. As an active member of the National Association of Counties since 2017, it is especially heartening that NACo is honoring these achievements and efforts in Los Angeles County.

Through the arts, our local artists become storytellers, innovators, and visionaries who help us make sense of our collective past while inspiring us to view our future with hope, said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Pro Tem Hilda L. Solis. Through the largest paid arts internship program in the nation, LA County remains committed in investing and nurturing our future generation of poets, painters, and musicians. As a former U.S. Secretary of Labor, I have always valued internships in the arts, and my commitment has only grown stronger while serving on the LA County Board of Supervisors, which is why I co-authored a motion in 2017 to expand this effort. I thank the National Association of Counties for recognizing LA County’s commitment to the arts.

The Department of Arts and Culture continues to be a beacon of light in its support of Los Angeles County’s artists and arts and culture organizations, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. This award is an example of the many ways that our Departmental staff works to positively impact the lives of the residents of the County, and to ensure equitable and inclusive allocation of much-needed resources to the community.

In our first official year as a department of the County of Los Angeles, we could not be more proud to have been recognized, along with our colleagues throughout the County, for four of our projects, said Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture Director Kristin Sakoda. These awards are a glimpse into the breadth and depth of our Department's work and the ways that artists, creative projects, and the cultural sector can promote greater equity, access, and inclusion in myriad ways in our communities.

NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson said, We are seeing firsthand now more than ever that counties work tirelessly to support our residents. This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs showcase how counties build healthy, safe, and vibrant communities across America.

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement, and many more.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.

The mission of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture is to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout Los Angeles County. It provides leadership, services, and support in areas including grants and technical assistance for nonprofit organizations, countywide arts education initiatives, commissioning and care for civic art collections, research and evaluation, access to creative pathways, professional development, free community programs, and cross-sector creative strategies that address civic issues.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments. Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service. Learn more at www.naco.org