On Tuesday, May 15, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create the first-ever LA County department for arts and culture. The motion, co-authored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl, instructs the County to transition the LA County Arts Commission to a stand-alone County department starting July 1, 2018 and complete the transition by fiscal year 2019–20.
This historic motion by the Board of Supervisors recognizes the important role of arts and culture in one of the largest and most diverse counties in the country—a role that the Arts Commission has long worked to cultivate.
This act affirms the value of arts and culture in contributing to the quality of life of every resident in LA County, upholds the unique talents of artists and cultural organizations as creative strategists addressing civic issues, recognizes the significance of the creative economy in our region, and continues LA County leadership in arts and cultural programs, arts education, cultural equity and inclusion, and public funding for the arts.
A department structure will provide the Arts Commission with increased capacity to strengthen the arts and our commitment to cultural equity and inclusion across the region. It positions the arts alongside other County departments to increase coordination and collaboration, leveraging the arts to address cross-sector and civic issues. A department structure will also provide sustainable staffing, operations, infrastructure and policy for the future of arts and culture in LA County.
The transition is an opportunity to further elevate the impact of the arts and build on the work of the Arts Commission to date. We do not anticipate cuts, significant changes or negative impact on our current programs and services. We will continue to work closely with the 15 Board-appointed Commissioners who dedicate their guidance, expertise, time and leadership to supporting this work.
This is an exciting time for LA County and the rich tapestry of cultural organizations, artists, audiences, participants and communities that call it home. It is a significant milestone for all of us who are deeply committed to the power of the arts and its role in civic life.
We look forward to building on the success of the past 70 years, and working with all of you to advance arts and culture in LA County for decades to come.