July 7, 2023
Kristin Friedrich, Director of Communications
Photo by Diandra Jay. Front row: Rosalyn Escobar, Dept. of Arts and Culture; Supervisors Lindsey P. Horvath and Hilda L. Solis; Director Kristin Sakoda, Arts and Culture; Chair Janice Hahn and Supervisor Kathryn Barger; Arts Commission President Liane Weintraub; Wendy Raquel Robinson, Amazing Grace Conservatory; and Christie Rios, Danza Floricanto. Middle: Anji Gaspar-Milanovic, Arts and Culture; Camille Wong, LACE; Dennis Cornell, Pasadena Playhouse; Heather Heslup, Destination Crenshaw; Rebecca Hamm, Tierra del Sol Foundation; Fesia Davenport, CEO, LA County. Back: Gregory Johnson, Arts Council for Long Beach; Sayon Syprasoeuth, United Cambodian Community Center; Jason Heath, Jail Guitar Doors; Joseph Quintana, United American Indian Involvement; Jay McAdams, 24th Street Theatre; Emmanuel Deleage, CASA 0101 Inc.
Los Angeles County Awards Over $31M to Arts and Cultural Organizations, Marking Historic Investment in Nonprofit Creative Sector
In Addition to Its Ongoing Grant Programs, Department of Arts and Culture Delivers American Rescue Plan Act Funds through ‘Creative Recovery LA’
Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture announces over $31 million dollars will be awarded to over 750 arts, cultural, and equity-building organizations, a historic County investment in the nonprofit creative sector.
Over twenty-six million dollars of that sum comes from Los Angeles County’s allocation of the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) relief and recovery programs. To distribute these one-time funds, the Department of Arts and Culture designed and implemented Creative Recovery LA. This initiative supports the nonprofit creative sector that is facing ongoing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, and focuses on organizations located in and serving communities most impacted by COVID and inequity. With a $26.4M total, 668 grantees, and over 1,900 individual grants awarded through the program’s innovative 5-in-1 grant opportunity design, Creative Recovery LA is believed to be the largest single publicly funded arts grant program in the history of the Los Angeles region.
The rest of the $31M is funded by the Department of Arts and Culture’s flagship Organizational Grant Program, which sustains LA County’s cultural ecosystem with funding to arts organizations of every artistic discipline, budget size, and geography, and the innovative Community Impact Arts Grant initiative, which supports municipalities and social service and social justice nonprofits that use the arts in their community service programs.
“This is part of the County’s effort to address inequities and better support underserved communities that were hit hard by the pandemic, and that includes the arts and cultural organizations that serve our communities,” said Janice Hahn, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair and Supervisor to the Fourth District. “All three of the Department of Arts and Culture programs that make up this $31 million investment—the ARPA funds that the County earmarked for the creative sector, along with the Department’s two ongoing grant programs—prioritize equity and organizational sustainability, so that we can build back LA County’s creative economy in this challenging time.”
“My work to develop and advance Los Angeles County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, and now the Countywide Cultural Policy, is a testament to my commitment to ensuring all Angelenos, regardless of where they live, have access to the arts,” said Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “These grant programs are aligned with that commitment because they support equity and enable our Department of Arts and Culture to succeed in its mission to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout Los Angeles County.”
“The Department of Arts and Culture’s grant programs are crucial to the livelihood of diverse arts nonprofit organizations. By bringing these resources to communities that have been impacted by long-standing inequities, we are helping to ensure all Angelenos can access the many benefits of the arts. Our grantees harness the creative power of the arts to enhance youth development, affirm cultural identity, revitalize our local neighborhoods, and much more. Through the equitable investment of arts funding, we have an opportunity to maximize the unique impact of the arts nonprofits serving the diverse communities of Los Angeles County,” said Holly J. Mitchell, Supervisor to the Second District.
“Creative Recovery LA is a significant public investment in the value Los Angeles County places on the arts, which are essential to the community recovery, connection, and creative expression,” said Lindsey P. Horvath, Supervisor to the Third District. “Grants to arts nonprofits will support their economic recovery and a more equitable County where we prioritize and celebrate diverse voices.”
“Investing in the arts is investing in our communities, because arts and culture resources improve mental health and wellbeing, economic opportunity, and youth development,” said Kathryn Barger, Supervisor to the Fifth District. “The reach of these grant programs is incredible. They support everything from grassroots organizations with micro, small, and mid-sized budgets, to major cultural institutions, and everything in between. They serve millions of our residents and visitors every year in every corner of the County, including those who are most vulnerable, and they provide stable careers for artists and arts workers. We need that kind of breadth to restore the County’s arts infrastructure and our creative economy.”
“The Department of Arts and Culture invests in LA County’s cultural life. One core way we do that is by making public funding accessible for hundreds of arts and equity-focused organizations—museums, art centers, dance companies, theaters, arts educators, music, folk and traditional arts, youth justice, literary organizations, and more—that provide culturally relevant programs that reflect, and serve, our diverse communities,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the LA County Department of Arts and Culture. “Arts organizations were hit hard by COVID-19 and continue to face challenges. We created the largest public sector arts grant in the region’s history with the $26.4M Creative Recovery LA to meet this moment, and together with our annual Organizational Grant Program and Community Impact Arts Grant, we aim to catalyze the work of rebuilding and re-imagining LA County as the creative capital of the world with a lens of cultural equity and inclusion for all Angelenos.”
Creative Recovery LA
The Department of Arts and Culture designed Creative Recovery LA to support the post-COVID arts and creative economy, while leveraging the unique qualities of the arts to support the recovery of communities. Its program design included five grant opportunities, so organizations could apply, in one streamlined application, for funds to address distinct needs and policy goals—Arts Relief and Recovery; Creative Works and Jobs for Artists; Reopening Culture, Tourism, and Marketing; Creative Career Pathways for Youth; and Arts for Justice-Involved Youth. In all, 668 organizations were awarded 1,912 grants across the five program categories.
The Arts Relief and Recovery category is the largest, aiming to support all arts organizations, as well as social services, health, and social justice organizations that provide arts programming and services to often-vulnerable constituents communities Organizations supported reflect a wide range of diversity, from the Amazing Grace Conservatory to the Museum of Latin American Art to the Black Photographers Union to the Deaf West Theatre Co. Creative Works and Jobs for Artists will support organizations to engage individual artists, broadly defined, for work to create artworks and projects through artist residencies, productions, exhibits, and commissions. This category’s awardees include organizations such as Destination Crenshaw, the Arts Council for Long Beach, and the Tierra del Soul Foundation. Reopening Culture, Tourism, and Marketing provides marketing support to reach diverse artists including but not limited to digital, audio visual, social media, printing, and more. Its awardees include organizations such as the Floricanto Dance Theatre, Culture Shock Los Angeles, and the Pasadena Playhouse. Creative Career Pathways for Youth supports organizations with dedicated programs that provide underrepresented youth and emerging creative workers with training, career exposure, work-based learning, and other pathways to jobs in the creative economy. Organizations supported in this category includ the Justice for My Sister Collective, the United Cambodian Community Center, and CASA 0101. The Arts for Justice-Involved Youth grant category supports organizations dedicated to supporting justice-impacted youth and communities through the arts, such as Homeboy Industries, Jail Guitar Doors, and No Easy Props.
To support applicants, the Department of Arts and Culture conducted 14 virtual and in-person application workshops throughout the County, attended by nearly 700 people. Creative Recovery LA funding prioritized organizations with headquarters or primary program location in or within one mile of Highest Need and High Need census tracts, according to LA County’s COVID-19 Vulnerability and Recovery Index. Ultimately, 83.3% of the awardees are in, or serve residents in, these Highest and High Need tracts.
Organizational Grant Program
This year, the Department of Arts and Culture delivers $4,518,000 to 236 organizations through its Organizational Grant Program (OGP). Funds can be used to support any number of current critical needs, from staffing and organizational infrastructure to public-facing programming. OGP grantees can also access the Department of Arts and Culture’s slate of professional development opportunities—programs designed in house, as well as scholarships for trainings and conferences.
OGP is Los Angeles County’s longest-running arts grant program, providing funding for the diverse ecosystem of arts nonprofits that range in size, budget, and discipline—from arts education, to theater, music, and dance, to visual, media, and literary arts. This cycle’s grantees, which include Active Cultures, Gay Men’ Chorus of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, are located in and provide services across the County, and many have deep and culturally rooted ties in their communities.
The program also addresses systemic inequity in arts funding; 92% of awardees are organizations that are micro, small, and mid-size budget organizations or organizations with a budget under $3M. These small and micro budget organizations are often chronically underfunded and include those that reflect and serve communities of color, historically marginalized, and rural communities. (Explore a full list of grantees.)
Community Impact Arts Grant
The Department of Arts and Culture also announces this year’s Community Impact Arts Grants (CIAG), bringing $750,000 to 74 nonprofit social justice and social service organizations, and municipal departments throughout LA County. Different than the department’s longstanding funding for arts nonprofits, CIAG supports arts-based programs at non-arts social service and social justice organizations. It was designed to address two priorities: making arts services available to LA County residents who might not experience them through traditional arts venues and outlets and encouraging integration of the arts in cross-sector work at local nonprofits.
The program supports arts programming at nonprofits and municipalities that often serve low-income individuals, individuals with disabilities, veterans, systems-impacted youth, and other underserved communities. United American Indian Involvement and Sovern LA, for example, are grantees this year that support Native American and Indigenous communities. (Explore a full list of grantees.)
About the 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. For more information, visit lacountyarts.org