Patrisse Cullors Selected for Creative Strategist Residency

Patrisse Cullors


The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture (Arts and Culture) has announced that artist and abolitionist Patrisse Cullors has been selected for a residency in the area of homelessness as part of its Creative Strategist-Artist in Residence program. This one-year residency places the artist with the County of Los Angeles Homeless Initiative, where Cullors will collaborate with staff to develop artist-led strategies to dispel myths and shift narratives about people experiencing homelessness, highlight the impact of homelessness on youth, and increase awareness and understanding of the complexities and solutions of the homelessness crisis in the region.

From its inception as a recommendation of the LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, the Creative Strategist program has explored the role artists play in advancing social change. Arts and Culture pairs a creative strategist with a County department or agency to collaborate with staff on solutions to complex civic challenges, introduce new methods to engage with constituents, and foster new ways of integrating arts, culture, and creativity into County operational practices. This Creative Strategist residency with Homeless Initiative is the twelfth since Arts and Culture launched the program in 2018. LA County agencies that have participated in the program include Aging and Disabilities, Mental Health, Parks and Recreation, Office of Immigrant Affairs, Department of Public Health-Office of Violence Prevention, and more.

The Creative Strategist program serves as a model for arts-based, cross-sector projects and community engagement to support equity across all domains of civic life. It also supports the goals of the Countywide Cultural Policy, which calls for LA County and all its departments to ensure every resident has meaningful access to arts and culture. The Cultural Policy values and celebrates art, culture, and creativity; strengthens cultural equity and inclusion; and integrates arts and culture in LA County strategies to achieve the highest value for people and communities.

For this residency, which began in October 2023, Cullors spent the first few months learning about the Homeless Initiative; interviewing staff, project partners, community leaders, and other stakeholders; and conducting research about homelessness. This research has informed the development of a project that Cullors will create during the residency. Two of the project’s main focal areas under development include recording stories from young people experiencing homelessness and championing the leadership of local homeless service organizations.

"Los Angeles County invests in artists because we recognize the powerful role art plays in solving our greatest challenges," said Board Chair Lindsey P. Horvath. "Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis, requiring an urgent, compassionate, and creative response. I look forward to seeing how Patrisse Cullors’ contributions to the Homeless Initiative build understanding and shape the second year of our emergency action."

"Los Angeles County is once again demonstrating its steadfast commitment to addressing the crisis on our streets," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. "By embedding a Creative Strategist within our Homeless Initiative, we are uplifting artistic practices towards the development of innovative solutions to this complex social challenge. I welcome Patrisse Cullors into this role and look forward to how she can impactfully support arts-based creative solutions to one of our most pressing issues in the County."

"Drawing from her lived experience, Patrisse Cullors brings a unique perspective to the Creative Strategist-Artist in Residence program for the Homeless Initiative. Her art is deeply rooted in empathy and a commitment to social justice. These qualities are vital as she works collaboratively with our County departments to address the nuanced challenges and solutions to increasing awareness and understanding and ending homelessness in our communities," said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Second District.

"As we work to meet the challenges of the homelessness crisis and get people the help and housing they need, I think we could all benefit from a little more empathy," said Supervisor Janice Hahn, Fourth District. "Art has an incredible way of breaking through and connecting with people. As a community leader, Patrisse Cullors has built an art practice based on spreading compassion and understanding, and I look forward to seeing everything that she brings to this important work through art for the Homeless Initiative."

"The Creative Strategist program helps our County departments think outside the box about the complex challenges our communities face. Homelessness is the most pressing issue our County is confronted with and requires creative solutions," said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Fifth District.

"With the Creative Strategist program, we bring artists and government agencies together, yielding new insights and creative approaches to public service and the civic issues affecting our communities. There is great value in how artists see the world and its challenges, and in their unique ability to engage communities, shift narratives, and create opportunities to reflect on our own humanity and the humanity of others. As a Creative Strategist, Patrisse Cullors will be able to bring her multidisciplinary background in arts and social justice and uplift the voices of young people at risk," said Kristin Sakoda, director of the Department of Arts and Culture. "This residency is one of the ways we’re utilizing the arts to support the Board of Supervisors’ priority on the homelessness crisis."

"We are delighted to partner with the Department of Arts and Culture and work with Creative Strategist Patrisse Cullors to cultivate and elevate the diverse voices and perspectives of young people experiencing homelessness in our communities," said Cheri Todoroff, Executive Director of the County of Los Angeles Homeless Initiative. "First-person accounts of homelessness are a vital tool in shifting the public’s understanding of this critical issue. Engaging these voices also sheds important light on how people are experiencing the homeless response system and the Homeless Initiative’s role placing people at the center of our programs and services."

"I am delighted that Patrisse was selected through an open, public solicitation process. Furthermore, her role as a commissioner representing LA County’s second supervisorial district will provide an important added perspective and help advance the Department of Arts and Culture’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion goals," said Liane Weintraub, President of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

"From experiencing houselessness firsthand as a youth in Los Angeles County to joining the forefront of change as the Creative Strategist with Homeless Initiative, my journey has been fueled by the belief that advocacy can carve out spaces for truth and transformation," said artist and abolitionist Patrisse Cullors. "Working alongside young, resilient voices, we are not just aiming to address the challenges of houselessness, we're striving to redefine how Los Angeles County supports its young and vulnerable populations. I once wished for the support of larger institutions during my own struggles. Today, I am proud to be part of creating a future through art where no young person feels overlooked. Together, we are building a community that recognizes, respects, and responds to the needs of every individual, ensuring that they receive the care and support they truly deserve."

About Patrisse Cullors
Patrisse Cullors is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, artist, and abolitionist from Los Angeles, CA. Her work has been featured at The Broad, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Frieze LA, The Hammer Museum, The Fowler and a host of theaters, galleries, and museums across the globe. Patrisse has won numerous awards for her art and activism. In 2020 she launched a one of its kind online MFA program at Prescott college. She also launched the Crenshaw Dairy Mart with fellow artists Noé Olivas and Ali Reza Dorriz. Her current work and practice focus on "Abolitionist Aesthetics," a term she has advanced and popularized to help challenge artists and cultural workers to aestheticize abolition. She has recently founded The Center For Art and Abolition - a trailblazing nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering abolitionist artists and leveraging the transformative power of art to catalyze social change. Cullors’ mission is to invite all of us to grow towards abolition through intergenerational healing work that centers love, collective care, and art.

About the Los Angeles County 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 career pathways, professional development, free community programs, and cross-sector creative strategies that address civic issues. Visit

About the County of Los Angeles Homeless Initiative
The Homeless Initiative is the central coordinating body for Los Angeles County’s effort to expand and enhance services for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their home. Created by the Board of Supervisors within the County's Chief Executive Office, the Homeless Initiative administers Measure H and other funding to provide outreach to people living on the streets; interim housing, such as temporary shelters; permanent housing such as subsidized apartments; and links to supportive services, such as healthcare, mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, job training, and employment. It also offers homeless prevention services and works to increase the supply of affordable housing. The Homeless Initiative is currently overseeing the County’s urgent response to the homelessness emergency, which includes Pathway Home. Visit