Public Artists in Development Program

Public Artists in Development (PAiD) is a new program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to promote the career growth and economic empowerment of underrepresented artists in LA County.* This program was created to address critical structural barriers to participation identified by the Civic Art Division and across the broader field of public art. The program will expand educational resources, training, mentorship, and new project opportunities to encourage the skill-building and professional readiness of diverse artists.

PAiD’s program team will work directly with artists and community partners to strategize ways to improve outreach and artist selection processes. The group will seek to identify new types of project opportunities and ways of engaging artists and communities. Throughout this process, PAiD will also encourage our organizational partners to develop new practices that support artists’ needs within a creative environment to build a future in which more artists can truly thrive.

*Underrepresented artists include artists identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, and Queer (LGTBQ+) artists, artists with disabilities, emerging and self-taught artists, and artists working in non-traditional mediums.

Program Goals

  • Commission artists from diverse backgrounds, practices, and communities for projects. 
  • Create opportunities for underrepresented artists to gain hands-on experience navigating the public art field. 
  • Equip underrepresented artists with transferable skills, tools, and resources to succeed in their professional creative endeavors. 
  • Engage artist voices to inform Department policies and practices and improve artist selection, outreach, engagement, and contracting in ways that increase access and inclusion among underrepresented artists.   
  • Amplify artist-led strategies and promote community partnerships to better support artists and the sustainability of the arts and culture field. 

Program Components

As a pilot program, PAiD will consist of two cycles of the activities listed below. Each cycle is expected to be completed over a 12-18-month period, with activities occurring across different timelines. Further details about each of these program components with information about how to apply are coming soon.

Artist Council

An eight-person Artist Council to solicit artist perspectives about administrative oversight, new program design decisions and outreach, and the creation of recommendations to benefit artists in the field. Each Council member will receive a $5,500 stipend for participating and a $22,500 project budget to develop a temporary project. Launching October 5, 2023.

Public Art Apprenticeship

A Public Art Apprenticeship to train and provide mentorship to a rotating group of five artists in the specific skills and knowledge required to complete a public art commission. Each Apprentice will be granted a $100-150K project budget to complete their first permanent public art project. In addition, each Apprentice will receive an artist stipend of $5,500 for participation in the program. Launching late Fall 2023.

Professional Development Programming

A free professional development programming series to provide artists with the tools and training to support various aspects of their career development and elevate creative change strategies emerging across the field. Launching Winter 2024.

Artist Web Platform

An artist web platform to provide ongoing access to professional resources, recorded workshops, templates, and other materials for artists. Launching Spring 2024.

Community Outreach and Engagement

To maximize PAiD’s benefits for artists, Arts and Culture has initiated a community outreach and partnerships plan to incorporate the decades long experience, expertise, and networks shared by local arts organizations across LA County. This work, which is being led by Dyson & Womack art consultants, will convene leaders from local arts organizations to provide critical feedback and support in shaping areas of the PAiD program.

Stay Connected

Frequently Asked Questions: 

There will be open call application process to select the Artist Council members and the Public Art Apprentices. The Artist Council call opens October 5, 2023 and the application and more information can be found at: https://www.dysonwomack.com/paid/. To receive information about when and how to apply for the Public Art Apprenticeship opportunity, please add your email to the Stay Connected sign-up above.

The Professional Development programming series will kick-off in early 2024. Stay tuned to announcements made on this website and Arts and Culture’s social media pages for workshop details as they become available or add your email to the Stay Connected sign-up on this webpage.

Among other topics of interest to artists, workshops will include sessions related to career development, including the public art and grant application processes; project management; staying on budget; engaging community; working with public art professionals such as fabricators, installers, or architects; portfolio development; and proposal preparation guidance.