Creative Strategist Program

(Above) Creative Strategist Carol Zou led a workshop with community members at the East LA Services Center, to begin planning for a community garden.Photograph by Monica Almeida.

A recommendation of the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, the Creative Strategist-Artist in Residence (Creative Strategist) program places artists, arts administrators, or other creative workers in County of Los Angeles departments to work alongside staff, project partners, and community stakeholders in a collaborative process to develop, strategize, promote, and implement artist-driven solutions to complex social challenges. The program supports the Countywide Cultural Policy and serves as a model for arts-based, cross-sector projects and community engagement with County departments to support equity across all domains of civic life.

Rooted in socially engaged art and civic practice, the program launched in 2018 with a pilot phase that was designed to be iterative and scalable.

Creative Strategist Program Evaluation

Explore an evaluation of the first six residencies and to read about what we learned

In Conversation: The Creative Strategist Program and Artist Residencies in Government

On September 27, 2023 the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture held a webinar to discuss the Creative Strategist Program.

A Creative Strategist is someone who can apply their artistic practice and creative problem-solving skills to develop artist-led and community-informed solutions to social challenges faced by County departments, introduce arts-based methods for engaging with internal and external stakeholders, and support articulated County goals. Creative Strategists are thought-partners, they foster innovative ideas and prototype strategies for integrating arts, culture, and creativity into LA County operational practices. Creative Strategists can play a key role in supporting systems change, strengthening relationships between government and communities, and advancing LA County's cultural and racial equity goals. 

During each one-year residency, a Creative Strategist will collaborate with County staff to develop a project that may include artistic interventions, approaches, and strategies; community engagement and participation; the identification or mapping of cultural and community assets; the creation of new artworks; and/or access to artistic and cultural experiences to meet the established goals of the residency. To read about the residencies that have taken place thus far, please click on the artist names below.

The Artists

Alan worked with LA County Library to engage the community through the arts in five library locations, one in each of the County supervisorial districts.

Anu created Healing Through Story: A Toolkit on Grassroots Approaches, a resource developed with and for Department of Mental Health staff. The toolkit focuses on the power of story as an arts-based healing process that promotes wellbeing and connection.

The goals of the residency are to develop culturally relevant and community informed arts and culture programming based on an intergenerational framework for County-operated senior and community centers

This Creative Strategist residency will focus on developing and prototyping arts-based strategies for employee engagement that foster self expression.

As part of the Vision Zero initiative, Clement was placed in the Policies for Livable Active Communities and Environments (PLACE) program at the Department of Public Health.

Embedded in the Media, Communication and Creative  Services department, Deborah developed artistic approaches and engagement strategies to raise awareness of the County's new Voting Solutions for All People initiative in the months leading up to the presidential primary.

During the first phase of his residency, Jacob Pratt (Dakota and Ojibway from Cote First Nation) embarked on a listening tour, meeting with some of the LANAIC’s 15 commissioners and others in the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) community. Through these conversations, an idea began to take shape: to use film as a medium to raise awareness and celebrate the diversity of the Native American community in LA County.  

María​ collaborated with Arts and Culture staff on a community and stakeholder engagement plan and implementation, which supported the development of the Countywide Cultural Policy, as well as the Human Resource Equity Summit.

Since 2019, Olga Koumoundouros has brought an artistic lens to the new Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), within the Department of Public Health

This Creative Strategist residency with the LA County Homeless Initiative will focus on developing and prototyping strategies designed to dispel myths and shift the narrative about people experiencing homelessness.

Phung Huynh applied her artistic practice and experience as a refugee and immigrant to develop strategies that build trust between LA County agencies and the region's immigrant communities 

Developed in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreation, de la Loza's Creating Connections: An Arts and Culture Framework and Toolkit establishes standards for arts and culture as core programming across all County parks that are centered around four themes: Art and Community, Art and Nature, Art and Wellness, and Art and Food