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L.A. County Receives Record-Breaking Grants for the Arts
By Brian W. Carter, Contributing Writer
Published August 1, 2019

The grants awarded this year to the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture help keep institutions like Inner City Arts to continue to educate and inspire youth. Photo by Brian W. Carter

On Thursday, July 25, the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture announced that it’s received up to $5.5 million in funding for the arts in 2019. The grants will be distributed in two ways, one being a two -year funding of $4,518,000 for 213 nonprofit arts organizations through the county-funded Organizational Grant Program (OGP) and $922,300 will go towards 47 Los Angeles County school districts, which is funded by the Arts Education Collective Advancement Grant Program.

“Arts, culture, and creativity are central to a thriving Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Besides inspiring individuals and invigorating communities, the county’s creative economy generated $207 billion in economic output last year.”

It has been stated that these grants are a record for the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture along with the Community Impact Arts Grant Program garnered $750,000 and Arts Internship Program receiving $1,160,850. Altogether, the department has received $7,351,150 in grants.

The announcement was presented to L.A. county officials, nonprofit partners and other grantees at Inner-City Arts, located in Downtown L.A., by Kristin Sakoda, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. She shared what this announcement means for youth throughout the county.

“We’re providing $4.5 million in grants to arts non-profits that provide a whole array of cultural programs and services,” said Sakoda. “Many of them are for youth and for families.”

She continued, “Everything from performances, to exhibits, workshops, etc. We’re also providing nearly a million dollars in grants through a public/private initiative with the arts ed collective—that’s to ensure that there is arts education in all of the school districts.

“And that’s really important because the arts are not only something that’s enjoyable to do but students who have arts in their schools have higher educational attainment, they stay in school longer, they have great social and emotional learning and all kinds of other outcomes that are really important for all of our communities.”

(From Left-to-Right): Inner-City Arts CEO, Bob Smiland, Kristin Sakoda, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and actor, theatre producer and director, Ben Guillory. Photo by Brian W. Carter

Founded in 1947, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, formerly the Arts Commission, has funded arts and culture programming throughout the county. The OGP supports local, small and mid-size arts organizations providing cultural services to L.A. County. Grantees range from larger organizations like KCETLink and the Museum of Contemporary Art, to longstanding nonprofits such as Lula Washington Dance Company and Social Public Art Resource Center.

This year’s grantees also include the Young Musicians Foundation, which supports free music classes, performances, workshops, and festivals to foster community engagement at its new Cypress Park facility and with communities across Los Angeles. Another grantee, About Productions, will develop and premiere Adobe Punk, a theater work of historical fiction set in the early 1980s in working-class Bell Gardens.

“These grants are making art more accessible across the county,” said County Board of Supervisors Chair, Janice Hahn. “The Organizational Grant Program helps make possible concerts, theater, exhibitions, and school education programs every day in communities that wouldn’t have them otherwise.

“The Advancement Grants are building pathways to careers in the arts by preparing youth for jobs in the creative economy and helping give our kids a well-rounded education. We want every person in this county to have access to the breadth, depth, and diversity of the arts, now and into the future.”

“I look forward to the new Department of Arts and Culture increasing access to the arts, building inclusive career pathways, and reinforcing the County as a creative hub for the world,” said Ridley-Thomas.

All 213 grantees—located in 44 of the county’s 88 municipalities—nearly eight percent, are receiving this funding for the first time and a complete list of OGP grantees can be found at www.lacountyarts.org

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