Arts Day 2012
The first annual Arts Day held on April 11, 2012 brought together more than 75 arts supporters and city council office representatives inside City Hall in celebration of the City’s nonprofit arts and cultural sector and its role in building a vibrant, economic, social and civic Los Angeles.
In partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), the daylong event began with a briefing for arts deputies from thirteen of the fifteen council districts. District representatives gathered to share information about arts related events in their district. Conducted by York Chang, President of the Arts Commission and newly appointed Arts Commissioner (and Arts for LA Board member) Charmaine Jefferson, the briefing also provided an overview of the function of the DCA, its revenue streams, programs and distribution of cultural resources to communities in each of the council districts.
The afternoon session consisted of a dynamic advocacy training session, with over 50 arts managers, board members, and program recipients, called to voice their opinions and strategize their presentation on policy issues existing in the arts and cultural sectors within their city districts. The training was facilitated by Debbie Devine and Jay McAdams of 24th Street Theatre. It included exercises in negotiation, telling one’s story and how to meet with their elected officials.
The depth and breath of the arts community was represented, from cornerstone to grassroots organizations that included: 24th Street Theatre, Barnsdall Arts, California African American Museum, Center Theatre Group, Contra-Tiempo, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Create Now, East West Players, Theatre West, Ghost Road Theatre, Grand Performances, Harmony Project, Hollywood Arts Council, Inner-City Arts, Inside Out Community Arts, LA Philharmonic, LA Stage Alliance, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Make Music Los Angeles, McGroarty Arts Center, Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, P.S. Arts, Pentacle (Dance Works), The Herb Alpert Foundation, The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, Unusual Suspects, Theatre of Hearts Youth First, UCLA Live, Watts Village Theatre Company, William Grant Stills, and the Young Storytellers Foundation.
“I felt part of a movement to keep and improve the integrity of the arts in our community,” commented one of the participating advocates.
Arts Day 2012 pioneered a dialogue between arts advocates and city council representatives with the goal of advancing access to arts throughout Los Angeles. Specifically, advocates urged council members and staff to retain the full 1% of the Transient & Occupancy Tax, the sole revenue stream for the Department of Cultural Affairs.
A participant expressed their experience with the meetings, “The deputy asked many thoughtful questions. He was interested in arts education and getting families and seniors access to arts opportunities.”
The event culminated in a lively reception celebrating over 200 grantees of the Department of Cultural Affairs as well as the partnership between the City of Los Angeles and its art and cultural communities. The music of Latin Grammy Award-nominated La Charanga Cubana echoed throughout City Hall’s rotunda while providing an atmosphere for council staff to meet and greet local artists and cultural leaders doing important work in communities throughout the county.
“I saw that I am not a lone artist and educator. I am part of a greater picture, and that picture includes our city, our government, and our civic leaders,” said one of the attendees.
Be a part of this unprecedented event by thanking the Mayor and the members of City Council for co-sponsoring Arts Day 2012. Please click here.
Stay tuned as plans for Arts Day 2013 are currently underway.