Image caption: Department of Arts and Culture grantee Heidi Ducker Dance’s Duck Truck Residency Program.

Department of Arts and Culture's First Announcement—

Nearly $5.5 Million in Grants For Diverse Range of Nonprofit Arts Organizations and School Districts Throughout LA County

July 25, 2019—Today the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture announces nearly $5.5 million in recent 2019 arts funding. The awards fall into two categories: $4,518,000 in two-year grants for 213 nonprofit arts organizations through the County-funded Organizational Grant Program (OGP), and $922,300 to 47 Los Angeles County school districts, funded through the Arts Education Collective Advancement Grant Program. These two programs, with the department’s Community Impact Arts Grant Program ($750,000) and Arts Internship Program ($1,160,850), mean $7,351,150 in grants will be distributed this year—a record for the agency.

These grants are making art more accessible across the County, said County Board of Supervisors Chair, Janice Hahn.The Organizational Grant Program helps make possible concerts, theater, exhibitions, and school education programs every day in communities that wouldn’t have them otherwise. The Advancement Grants are building pathways to careers in the arts by preparing youth for jobs in the creative economy and helping give our kids a well-rounded education. We want every person in this County to have access to the breadth, depth, and diversity of the arts, now and into the future.

Organizational Grant Program

Since its inception in 1947, the Department of Arts and Culture (formerly the Arts Commission) has provided funding for arts and culture programming. Through the Organizational Grant Program (OGP), funding now supports local small and mid-size arts organizations providing cultural services to the people of LA County. Grantees now range from larger organizations (KCETLink and Museum of Contemporary Art, for example) to longstanding nonprofits (Lula Washington Dance Company and Social Public Art Resource Center) with a deep history of service to LA County residents, to newer organizations in LA’s nonprofit space (Art Division and the Underground Museum). Grantees receive awards that range from $2,300 to $141,800, depending on the needs and size of the organization, and these awards are flexible—they can be used to support any number of current critical needs, from organizational infrastructure to programming.

This year, grantees all over LA County will use funds from their OGP awards to support activities that range from building organizational infrastructure to programming. The Young Musicians Foundation, for example, will support free music classes, performances, workshops, and festivals to foster community engagement at its new Cypress Park facility and with communities across Los Angeles. About Productions will develop and premiere of Adobe Punk, a theater work of historical fiction set in the early 1980s in working-class Bell Gardens. Of the 213 grantees—located in 44 of the County’s 88 municipalities—nearly 8 percent are receiving this funding for the first time. A complete list of OGP grantees can be found here.

Advancement Grants

Staffed by the Department of Arts and Culture, the Los Angeles County Arts Ed Collective coordinates the Countywide effort to ensure that all students receive quality arts instruction by expanding teaching and learning, and building political and public will. The Advancement Grant Program offers flexible grants, underwritten by the Arts Ed Collective Funders Council, that support Los Angeles County school districts in providing quality arts education for public school students. These grants are matched by school district funds, leveraging public and private resources to expand high quality instruction in dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts.

The El Monte Union High School District, for example, uses its grant to expand artist residences for students and disabilities and English learners. Mountain View School District supports media arts professional development and curriculum development for middle school teachers through the Arts Ed Collective’s TEAL project (Technology Enhanced Arts Learning). A complete list of the 47 school district grantees (including four charter networks) and their projects can be found here.

As the local agency dedicated to advancing arts, culture, and creativity, one of our primary roles is to invest in the cultural life of Los Angeles County. In a region as ethnically and culturally diverse, and as geographically sprawling as LA, we seek to ensure that all the benefits of, and opportunities provided by, the arts are available and accessible to all residents, no matter who they are or where they live, said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. Grantmaking that supports a vibrant nonprofit art sector is a cornerstone of this work.

These grants—supporting nonprofits and schools—are just a part of the work of the newly-established Department of Arts and Culture. The department also commissions works of art for public facilities and manages the County’s civic art collection; researches and evaluates, then makes accessible, findings in and about the local arts and culture sector; builds new cross-sector collaborations with County departments (such as the Creative Strategist Artist in Residence program); and implements the County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, known as CEII, a cultural plan with a progressive suite of recommendations to strengthen diverse, equitable, and inclusive access to arts and culture for everyone in the County.

Arts, culture, and creativity are central to a thriving Los Angeles County, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. Besides inspiring individuals and invigorating communities, the County's creative economy generated $207 billion in economic output last year. I look forward to the new Department of Arts and Culture increasing access to the arts, building inclusive career pathways, and reinforcing the County as a creative hub for the world.