History of ACTIVATE & growth of our advocate network

Arts for LA believes that grassroots leadership empowerment is a key strategy to achieve systemic access to the arts and arts education. By training local residents how to advocate on behalf of their communities to the local policy makers, participants amplify the voices of their community and improve the health of their schools and neighborhood spaces. To address this need, Arts for LA developed ACTIVATE, an advocacy leadership program.

In the summer of 2014, working with its partner the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective, Arts for LA recognized the current need to not only identify key arts education advocates living within communities but also to develop the leadership skills of these advocates so that they have the capacity to strengthen and sustain local arts education initiatives. ACTIVATE: Arts Education is part of a strategic collaboration between Arts for LA and the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective. The Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective is the LA County initiative dedicated to making the arts core in K-12 public education. Arts for LA is a key partner in the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective, working to build political and public will for arts education across LA County.

In its inaugural year (2014-15), ACTIVATE produced a leadership network of 39 knowledgeable, invested community leaders, trained to engage stakeholders in their communities, to increase local awareness of the importance of arts and arts education, and to take action to ensure that every resident and every student have equitable access to the arts.

Embarking on its second year (2015-16), in August 2015 Arts for LA received over 400 applications for an original goal of 50 Arts Education Fellows and 25 Cultural Policy Fellows. In response to the demand, Arts for LA secured additional funding and expanded the program to allow for a total of 100 participants per cohort year (50 Arts Education and Cultural Policy Fellows, respectively).

Taken together, ACTIVATE Fellows now represent 34 school districts and 38 municipalities throughout Los Angeles County:


The long-range goal of ACTIVATE is to recruit, train, and mobilize arts advocates in ALL 81 school districts and 88 municipalities in Los Angeles County in an effort to grow our arts advocacy network and strengthen our collective voice. 

ACTIVATE is generously funded by the LA County Arts Commission, the Louis J. Borick Foundation, and Arts for LA Contributing Members and is FREE TO ALL PARTICIPANTS. 

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at [email protected], or call us at (213)225-7580.