Creative Strategist Program Evaluation

(Photo Caption) LA County, We Rise - Walk for Wellness community pop up event at Earvin Magic Johnson Park.

A Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative recommendation, the Los Angeles County Creative Strategist program places artists in County departments to work alongside staff, project partners, and community stakeholders. Through a collaborative process, creative strategists work with their host departments to develop, strategize, promote, and implement artist-driven solutions to complex civic challenges.

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This evaluation of the first six residencies of the Creative Strategist program finds that a significant amount of art-as-process occurred across the residencies, with many of the creative strategists doing work engaging communities, especially those historically underserved by local government. Some creative strategists completed staff trainings and left toolkits that department staff can continue to use, if they choose to. At the same time, some of the art products that were created could have been achieved through a creative services contract. This evaluation also finds that despite significant challenges wrought by the pandemic, nearly every creative strategist continued work begun during their residency, though often through different means and mechanisms. The report concludes with a series of 13 recommendations to improve program structure and administration.

Full Report & Executive Summary

Executive Summary

View and download a PDF of the Executive Summary of this report.

Full Report

View and download a PDF of the full report.


Explore the Report

Introduction; Government Artist Residencies in Context

A brief history of how government in the United States has used art and artists to solve complex social issues, and emerging research and writing on the concept of artist residencies in local government.

Evaluation Methodology

How this program evaluation was conducted, including a statement of positionality from the evaluator.

Creative Strategist Program Pilot Phase

Descriptions of each of the six residencies in the pilot phase, including profiles of the creative strategists and host departments, “productive frictions” that emerged, and recommendations to improve the program.

Analysis and Recommendations to Strengthen the Program

Were the goals of the residencies achieved? Was progress made toward the original vision for the residencies? How can the program be improved?


Theory of Change

As the first six residencies were coming to a close, Arts and Culture staff developed this theory of change for the program. It reflects the program's original aspirations while also being informed by what was learned during implementation and by literature that was reviewed.

View Infographic

View and download a PDF of the Theory of Change for this program.



Watch a December 2020 webinar on artist residencies in government facilitated by artist Sara Daleiden, with panelists:

  • Roberto Bedoya: Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Oakland
  • Johanna Taylor: Assistant Professor, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University
  • Letitia Fernandez Ivins: Senior Manager, Transportation Planning, Metro Arts and Design
  • Robin Garcia: Cross Sector Analyst, LA County Department of Arts and Culture