The Los Angeles County Arts Commission released a report on the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative (CEII), an 18-month public process that led to the development of 13 recommendations to the LA County Board of Supervisors to ensure that everyone in LA County has equitable access to arts and culture, and to improve inclusion in the wider arts ecology for all residents in every community. The executive summary and full report are available at LACountyArts.org/CEII-report.
The Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative was in response to a Board resolution in November 2015 directing the LA County Arts Commission to conduct “a constructive Countywide conversation about ways to improve diversity in cultural organizations” for all LA County residents. Supervisor Hilda Solis stated at the time, “As a leader in the arts and perhaps the most diverse County in the nation, Los Angeles should be at the forefront of discussions and actions taken to improve cultural equity.”
The CEII process included an Advisory Committee made up of a wide range of local experts and led by three Co-Chairs. Perspectives, opinions and ideas were collected from the public through a series of Town Halls and Working Groups. A set of 13 recommendations for how to improve diversity, cultural equity and inclusion in the arts emerged and are outlined in the report.
On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion instructing the Arts Commission, pending funding allocations as part of the County’s budget process in June, to begin implementation of four of the 13 recommendations: developing a County Cultural Policy, requiring cultural organizations that contract with the County to include statements, policies or plans for cultural equity, creating access to work-based learning opportunities for teens, and an expansion of the arts internship program for community college students. Additionally, the motion calls for the continuation of the CEII Advisory Committee.
Additionally, on March 14, 2017, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion to implement a private developer requirement for civic art in the unincorporated areas. With the passing of this motion, a fifth CEII recommendation focusing on opportunities and programming in unincorporated areas is moving forward.
“While Los Angeles County has invested in the arts for more than a century, there is more work to be done so that all residents have equal and meaningful access to the arts and the benefits they provide,” says Laura Zucker, Executive Director of the Arts Commission. “The work of CEII and the ongoing commitment of the Board of Supervisors is a starting point towards significant change. It is about the democratization of culture.”
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County. The Arts Commission provides leadership in cultural services for the County, encompassing 88 municipalities and nearly 140 unincorporated areas, including funding and job opportunities, professional development and general resources. lacountyarts.org.