The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion Tuesday that declares April 2023 as Arts Month in Los Angeles County and praises the contributions of artists, arts administrators, arts organizations, culture bearers and arts educators throughout the county. The motion was authored by Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn and Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
The motion contains highlights and milestones from the Department of Arts and Culture’s 75-year history being commemorated this year.
“The arts are powerful and because of that, they need to be accessible. This motion solidifies the County’s commitment to promoting the arts, and the role they can play in building cultural equity and inclusion,” Hahn said. “I also want to formally recognize the achievements of the Arts Commission and now Department of Arts and Culture. It’s quite a track record, considering how dramatically the scale and reach of the work have increased in the last several years. I certainly celebrate its 75-year body of work, but I am more excited to see what comes next.”
That body of work includes grants and technical assistance for hundreds of nonprofit organizations; professional development opportunities; the care and commissioning of civic artwork; arts education initiatives; research and evaluation; career pathways in the creative economy; free community programs; and cross sector creative strategies that address civic issues. The Department of Arts and Culture’s Arts Education division coordinates the public-private L.A. County Arts Education Collective (Arts Ed Collective), a regional initiative focused on changing public systems so that all young people grow up with the arts—in school, in communities, in county systems, and in creative career pathways for youth.
Hahn and Barger’s motion pays particular attention to the Arts Ed Collective, directing the Chief Executive Officer to report back on matching the collective’s philanthropic investment in this work by funding $1.05 million for equitable arts instruction in school districts.
“It is imperative that we build a more well-rounded education for L.A. County’s youth and help school districts lay the foundation for careers in the arts and in our creative economy,” said Barger. “This motion works toward our goal for every person in Los Angeles County to have access to the breadth, depth, and diversity of the arts to enrich their childhood and foster their creativity into adulthood. Strengthening our partnership with schools means we have a better chance of connecting all children in our county to quality, equitable arts education, no matter if they live in a rural community or city.”
“Arts Month is a time to celebrate and advocate for the value of the arts. This motion is a recognition of how the County, through the Department of Arts and Culture, is elevating arts and culture on the civic agenda to advance equity in Los Angeles County,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the Department of Arts and Culture. “We are excited to continue to invest in L.A. County’s cultural life, expand resources for the cultural field, grow our partnerships, and deepen our work supporting school districts to ensure all young people, especially those that have been historically excluded, have opportunities to build creative skills, engage in arts learning, express their culture, experience joy, and reap the many benefits of the arts.”
“L.A. County has invested meaningfully in arts and culture for more than seventy-five year, and the Board’s support of the Arts Commission and now Department of Arts and Culture has led to more arts infrastructure throughout the County, and more arts engagement for millions of people. But there is still work to do. I am hopeful that we will continue to expand our programs, resources, and investments, and increase access to the arts and its many benefits for all residents—particularly our young people,” said Eric Eisenberg, President of the Arts Commission, an advisory group to the Board.
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.
The Arts Ed Collective work began in 2002 when the Board of Supervisors adopted a first-of-its kind L.A. County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education, developed by the Arts Commission (now the Department of Arts and Culture) and the Los Angeles County Office of Education to ensure access to arts education for every public school student. It is now a nationally recognized model of collective impact that engages philanthropic partners, school districts, charter school networks, arts organizations, teaching artists, other County agencies and advocates. It advances the vision that every young person in L.A. County engages in the arts all year, every year, because the arts are fundamental to human growth and development. Visit lacountyartsed.org.