Photo courtesy of Heidi Duckler Dance.
‘LA COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS RECOVERY GRANT’ DELIVERS $1.2M TO SUPPORT 40 AWARDS FOR ARTISTIC WORK IN PERFORMING ARTS
Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture has announced 40 awards to performing arts organizations, individual artists, and producers—totaling $1.2 million—from its LA County Performing Arts Recovery Grant. The one-time grant program is part of the Department’s ongoing relief and recovery initiatives for the arts and creative economy and brings support to a performing arts sector still widely impacted by COVID-19.
Each award of $30,000 will provide flexible funding for the creation, documentation, and presentation of new or existing artistic work, including dance, music, theater, and folk and traditional arts. Unlike many of the Department of Arts and Culture’s grants, this program included eligibility for individual artists and producers. Small and mid-size performing arts organizations were also eligible—including nonprofits, for-profits, fiscally sponsored organizations, and producing collectives that perform regularly throughout the region. The guidelines for the grant can be found on Arts and Culture's website.
In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic disruption began, with the performing arts sector hard hit by shutdowns, losses, and revenue and audiences still lagging significantly today from pre-pandemic levels, even as other sectors of the County’s creative economy are recovering. The LA County Performing Arts Recovery Grant provides support to the sector with funding from the former Ford Theatre Foundation, administered by the Center for Cultural Innovation on behalf of the Department of Arts and Culture.
The LA County Performing Arts Recovery Grant strengthens the ongoing recovery, cultural equity, and creative capacity of the performing arts field at a crucial moment, said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the Department of Arts and Culture.
Dance, theater, music, and performance-makers of every genre engage our humanity through the embodied live arts. These artists, creative producers, collaborators, and arts organizations also play a vital role in our arts ecology and our local economy, yet they’ve been hard hit by the pandemic. This grant will stimulate activity and address key needs we heard from the field—by providing flexible funding that can be used to create, document, and present artistic work, access venues and rehearsal spaces, pay artist fees and living wages, utilize media and technology, amplify underrepresented voices, and engage audiences.
Examples of Grantees and Their Work
- A Noise Within will use the grant to support a four-week production of The Bluest Eye adapted by Lydia R. Diamond from the book by Toni Morrison and directed by Andi Chapman. The production will include free and low-cost tickets for the community, post show conversations, collaborations with LA County BIPOC organizations, symposiums, and a Black Out Affinity performance.
- Taiko Project will use the grant to support the creation and presentation of collaborative work with Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Gamelan Merdu Kumala (Indonesian Gamelan music ensemble), and N8tive Hoop (Native American hoop dancers).
- Artist Aditya Prakash will use the grant to support ISOLASHUN Live, a multimedia, multidisciplinary musical production. The project includes a residency, rehearsals, production, PR/ promotion, and a five-episode podcast. ISOLASHUN Live will premiere at CAP UCLA in October 2024.
- Deaf West Theatre will use the grant to support the development of a new play based on the short documentary film, Ingelore, the story of Jewish deaf child born in Germany in the 1920s, her experiences through the period of the Nazi rise to power, and her 1940 emigration to the US.
- Artist Amy Campion will use the grant to support the creation, presentation, and documentation of Street Dance Orixás (SDO) at the California African American Museum. SDO is a dance performance that portrays 7 Orixás (ancestral forces of nature) through a dance dialogue between traditional Afro-Brazilian dancers and hip-hop dancers.
- The Los Angeles Poverty Department will use the grant to support the creation and presentation of the Walk the Talk performance and parade, acknowledging Skid Row residents and workers who have done transformative work in the community. The performance process will take place from October 2023 through May 2024, with the performances and parade taking place on May 25, 2024.
- Artist Dorian Wood will use the grant to support the documentation and ongoing production of Canto de Todes, a 12-hour touring composition/installation that evolves with every incarnation, addressing themes of migration and queer visibility.
Background on LA County Performing Arts Grant
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Department of Arts and Culture has supported the relief and recovery of the arts and creative sector of the region, in addition to its ongoing programs. The LA County Performing Arts Recovery Grant initiative is part of this work. Funding for this one-time grant traces back to the John Anson Ford Theatres, owned by the County of Los Angeles and previously operated by the LA County Arts Commission (now the Department of Arts and Culture) in partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Ford Theatre Foundation. Over decades of performances, programs, and support, the Ford Theatres were known for sustaining diverse artists and audiences. The LA County Performing Arts Recovery Grant carries on the legacy of support for the performing arts through this unique one-time partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture and former Ford Theatre Foundation.
In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic disruption began, with the performing arts sector hard hit by shutdowns, losses, and revenue and audiences still lagging significantly today from pre-pandemic levels, even as other sectors of the LA County creative economy are recovering. The pandemic also disproportionately negatively impacted communities of color and those already facing barriers, historic disinvestment, and systemic inequity. Artists and other creative workers in the performing arts identifying as female and BIPOC, among others, have also seen disproportionate impacts on employment, opportunities, and wages.
About the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture
The mission of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture is to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout Los Angeles County. It provides leadership, services, and support in areas including grants and technical assistance for nonprofit organizations, countywide arts education initiatives, commissioning and care for civic art collections, research and evaluation, access to creative pathways, professional development, free community programs, and cross-sector creative strategies that address civic issues.
About the Center for Cultural Innovation
The LA County Performing Arts Recovery Grant was administered on the department’s behalf by the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI). CCI was founded in 2001 as a California 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Its mission is to support individuals in the arts—artists, culture bearers, and creative entrepreneurs—to realize greater self-determination to unfetter their productivity, free expression, and social impact, which contributes to shaping our collective national identity in ways that reflect the diversity of society.