What’s going on? Get the latest news and announcements about Arts and Culture programs and initiatives.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year! We are happy to share that Creative Recovery LA, our grant initiative that directs over $26 million in American Rescue Plan funds to local arts nonprofits, is well underway. There are a few remaining workshops designed to assist applicants, opportunities for office hours, and lots of resources on our website. The application is open now, and closes February 15.
As part of Los Angeles County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) relief and recovery programs, the LA County Department of Arts and Culture launches the innovative Creative Recovery LA initiative this week.
The final newsletter of the year is an opportunity both to reflect and to look forward to the new year. Perhaps most urgently for the field, we are getting ready to open applications to Creative Recovery LA in January. In this unprecedented funding investment, we will award over $26 million in American Rescue Plan funds to deliver financial relief and recovery to the LA County nonprofit arts and culture sector. It is an incredible opportunity for local nonprofits, with an equity lens, and I am proud of our team working to deliver public funding for the arts where it's needed most. Help us spread the word.
The Department of Arts and Culture uses data and analysis to engage with some of the most important questions in the field of arts, culture, and creativity. Visit the Research Lab to get the highlights. For published reports, please see the Publications page. Or stop by LA County’s Open Data Portal to explore where the arts and creativity connect.
Civic Art Division annual report for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
To kick off our anniversary celebration, Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell authored a motion to commemorate 75 years of arts and culture in LA County, which the Board unanimously passed. And to continue the celebration, we've created a special 75 Years of Arts and Culture report.
This year, the Department of Arts and Culture celebrates its 75th anniversary. We started as the Music Commission created by the Board of Supervisors back in 1947, and over 75 years we've grown alongside—and often in response to the needs of—Los Angeles County’s dynamic arts and culture landscape. I thank Chair Holly Mitchell and Board of Supervisors for recognizing this milestone and five honorees.
Sandra Hahn grew up in East LA and in Whittier, artistically inclined from the start. She had challenges to navigate—including not speaking English when she first started school, needing glasses, and dealing with then-undiagnosed dyslexia. But she always drew, and won many art contests at school and at fairs. As she got a little older, Sandra became interested in photography, film, and murals through after-school programs. She also got into trouble a lot, and because her parents didn’t see or understand the vast opportunities in the field of arts for a young girl, they pushed her toward beauty college.
Jacqueline Pimentel was a shy kid from Covina, but at home, she loved to sing and perform. Her mom always nudged her towards their community’s musical theater scene—Jackie was a Lost Kid in Peter Pan first, and then appeared in Beauty and the Beast and Oliver! "I needed a creative outlet," she said. "My mom always encouraged me to get out of my shell." Jackie joined the chamber choir during high school, where she became a classically trained vocalist, grew to love music in various languages and genres, and had the opportunity to be a member in a successful ensemble that traveled to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall and Seattle for their annual Performing Arts Heritage Festival.
Caroline Lerch grew up in New Orleans, where it’s said music is everywhere. It certainly was in Caroline’s house—her grandfather was a jazz musician and pianist who could be heard on the local radio every morning on the "Pinky Vidacovich and the Dawnbusters" show, and her mother, Haydée Lafaye Ellis, played guitar and upright bass in a band with a regular gig in the French Quarter. Haydée also painted and acted in local theater productions—all the while being a conventional PTA mom, married to a civil engineer.
There are exciting changes at the LA County Department of Arts and Culture! In the County, the budget process has several phases. This fall, the Board of Supervisors passed the Supplemental Budget with great news for arts and culture—we are thrilled to receive our budget request in full, and then some, including six new staff positions in our Research and Evaluation, Civic Art, Communications, and Grants divisions, as well as a new Arts Commission Manager role. Each of these new roles will advance equity in the arts in the Department and help us get more programs, opportunities, announcements, and data to you our cultural community. I am thankful this Board wants to invest in arts, culture, and creativity, and I am also very grateful for our wonderful Arts Commissioners and their tireless advocacy during the budget process.
Constance Jolcuvar’s life is full of layers. She’s proud of her background—she’s a half-Hispanic and half-Greek first-generation California native with roots in both San Marino and Frogtown. She acknowledges the privilege in the life she has built, but she’s also often been on the receiving end of nasty, hurtful prejudice. “Most would never guess that to look at me,” she said, “so I’ve always been about striving for fairness and equal opportunity for all, and I’m a constant and strong supporter of public schools.”
October, 2022 Professional Development newsletter.
Irina Contreras (pronouns: they/them) was 14 years old during the 1992 LA uprising, and Rodney King was beaten just down the street from where they grew up in Pacoima. The area was known amongst locals for the many police abuses it had historically endured. “I was young, but I definitely had feelings about it,” they said.
It was not surprising when Second District Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell nominated artist, writer, and community organizer Patrisse Cullors to the Arts Commission last year. They have known each other for more than a decade, back to when Mitchell was in the California State Assembly. “Holly Mitchell has been of service to my South Los Angeles community for a long time,” Patrisse said, “and I think she has seen me to be both a staunch advocate of criminal justice as well as the arts.”