LOS ANGELES, CA – As it continues to expand access to the arts for all residents, the Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the LA County Cultural Policy Strategic Plan. Developed with community and arts field input, the new Strategic Plan includes 18 tactics to expand cultural resources across LA County. Its adoption represents a milestone in an ongoing shift in County arts and culture—increasing funding for artists, programs, and community-based arts organizations with a cultural equity lens; elevating the arts as a cross-sector strategy; and investing in cultural life for all our people and communities.
Today’s motion directs the County’s Chief Executive Office to explore a funding increase for the Department of Arts and Culture’s (Arts and Culture) Organizational Grant Program (OGP) and the Free Concerts in Public Sites program. OGP is the region’s flagship program for funding support for arts nonprofits—it sustains the diverse arts ecosystem of the County and spans every artistic discipline, budget size, and geographic location, ensuring access to arts and cultural activities from visual arts, theater, dance, film, literary, and arts education organizations, and more. The Free Concerts in Public Sites program, a hallmark County arts program for decades, provides access to music concerts, performances, and local festivals for communities. On hiatus due to the pandemic, the return of the Free Concerts program would bring jobs to musicians and presenters, grants to organizations with their own free concert initiatives, and family-friendly events all over the County.
The Board’s action builds on three previous groundbreaking motions, all driven by the desire to address longstanding disparities in the arts and culture field. In 2015, Supervisor Solis authored a motion that directed Arts and Culture to identify constructive ways to “enhance the participation and leadership of individuals from underrepresented communities in the arts.” This led to the 2017 Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative (CEII) and recommendations on how LA County departments could work together to provide, through new and existing services, every resident with access to arts and culture.
In 2018 the Board voted unanimously to create the first-ever Department of Arts and Culture. The new department brought to life a mission and vision to ensure a robust, equitable arts sector and arts access for all communities. Supervisors Solis and Sheila Kuehl teamed up for a motion to adopt the Countywide Cultural Policy in 2020, positioning the County as a national arts leader in advancing cultural equity and inclusion in every sector of our civic lives. Then in 2021, the Board directed Arts and Culture to develop a Strategic Plan that would implement that policy.
“My work to develop and advance Los Angeles County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative over the years is a testament to my commitment to ensuring all Angelenos, regardless of where they live, have access to the arts,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “I fight to ensure that arts are incorporated into County services, so that we can further guarantee equity, and that we allocate resources to allow the Department of Arts and Culture to succeed in their mission to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout Los Angeles County.”
“Art is not a luxury,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “It is a critical component of a creative and healthy economy and a resilient society. Today’s motion will explore potential funding to invest in programs that create jobs and opportunities for artists, provide performances in diverse neighborhoods, and build a solid infrastructure for the County’s unparalleled ecosystem of arts nonprofits.”
“Arts and culture are vital to civic life, and to equity in the County. But equity does not just manifest—it needs to be built up in programs, practices, and policy development. For the Cultural Policy Strategic Plan, we engaged the Arts Commission, the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative Advisory Committee, County leadership, the arts and culture field, our staff, and hundreds of community members. Together, we created a Strategic Plan that reflects diverse voices, is actionable, and sets a bold vision for arts and culture in the Los Angeles region. I am excited to continue this work and deliver on this roadmap for arts, culture, and equity over the coming decade and beyond,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the Department of Arts and Culture.
“In the five years since the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative began, a dynamic shift has been underway in how the Department’s programs and policies deliver on arts equity. The Cultural Policy Strategic Plan is the latest step in this work to create a sustainable, equitable creative sector, and provide access to arts services for everyone in the County. I look forward to seeing its impact not only on the Department of Arts and Culture, but on all the County’s departments, on arts organizations, grantees, artists, and our communities,” said Eric Eisenberg, Arts Commission President.
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.
Explore the history, strategies, and progress of both the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and the Countywide Cultural Policy here.