(Above) Photo courtesy of Clockshop.

Three Reports from Department of Arts and Culture Shed Light on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Challenges in Arts and Culture Sector

New research provides insights into the demographics of LA County’s arts workforce; effects of a new diversity, equity, and inclusion requirement on arts nonprofits; and ways to engage arts audiences

For Immediate Release Tuesday, December 10, 2019. The LA County Department of Arts and Culture’s (Arts and Culture) Research and Evaluation Division has released three reports, free and accessible, on three different aspects of arts in LA County—the 2019 LA County Arts and Culture Workforce Demographics Study; From Words to Action: Implementation of the Organizational Grant Program’s New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Requirement; and What People Talk about When They Talk About the Arts. The reports are part of the department’s continued efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts through LA County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative (CEII).

1. 2019 LA County Arts and Culture Workforce Demographics Study
Conducted by national arts data organization SMU DataArts, this study surveyed staff, board members, and contractors of arts nonprofits, museums, and government arts agencies throughout LA County. Findings include:
  • The cultural workforce is more homogenous than the population of the County, at 59% non-Hispanic White.
  • Younger workers (15-34 age group) tend to be more racially and ethnically diverse.
  • 63% of the arts and culture workforce is women.
  • 78% of respondents identified their country of origin as the US, while 12% identified their country of origin as one of 62 different countries.

Learn more about the 2019 LA County Arts and Culture Workforce Demographics Survey at: lacountyarts.org/article/demographics-arts-and-culture-workforce-la-county-update

2. From Words to Action
The Department of Arts and Culture added a new requirement to the agency’s flagship Organizational Grant Program in 2018. All applicants must submit a board-adopted policy, statement, and/or plan outlining their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In From Words to Action, Arts and Culture analyzes these statements to learn how the field is responding to this new requirement.
  • Nearly all grant applicants used the term diversity in their statements, but they define that term and use it in different ways.
  • Some applications describe their commitment to DEI by indicating how many of various race, ethnicity, or gender categories they have on their boards, in their staff, or among their artists. While other applicants address the question of diversity as it relates to the organization’s historical work in the communities they serve.

Learn more about From Words to Action: Implementation of the Organization Gran Program’s New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Requirement at: lacountyarts.org/article/words-action-report

3. What People Talk About When They Talk about the Arts
Demographic data is only a starting point for ensuring that everyone in LA County has access to all the benefits of the arts. Collecting demographic data about who comes to an arts event and who does not gives organizations valuable facts, but it does not tell them everything they need to know in order to serve all communities equitably. Based on interviews with deeply committed supporters of the arts from across LA County, What People Talk About When They Talk About the Arts identifies 12 themes that speak to why people participate in the arts and how they incorporate it into their lives. Highlights include:
  • People who are highly engaged with the arts do not always call those experiences art experiences or even think about them as arts.
  • Culturally-rooted arts experiences are often about identity, place, and belonging.
  • People value art they can experience together in shared public spaces, highlighting arts experiences as a tool for bringing people of all backgrounds together.
  • People view the benefits of the arts as material and tangible, as well as emotional and spiritual.

Learn more about What People Talk About When They Talk About the Arts at: lacountyarts.org/article/what-people-talk-about-when-they-talk-about-arts

Explore the Reports