Looking Back... And Forward

Arts for LA Staff: Camille Schenkkan, Tara Stafford, Danielle BrazellIt's hard to believe it was just four years ago that I was working in the basement of Grand Performances, plugging in the phone lines, building our first website and membership campaign. Reflecting on those early days of Arts for LA as an official advocacy organization makes me feel really good for the work we have accomplished, not just as an organization, but as a community.

Advocacy is action, and this year you put Arts for LA on the map! This year alone, over 9,900 advocates took action in 17 campaigns.

This could not have been possible without our extraordinary Board and Staff!  Speaking of which, it is bittersweet that I write to share of two leadership transitions. 

Tara Stafford, our amazing arts education advocacy manager, is leaving to pursue her advanced degree in public education at Columbia University.  It has been great working with Tara over this past year.  Her contributions to Arts for LA will be felt for years to come.

I also want to acknowledge Cynthia Campoy Brophy, Arts for LA's Board Chairman of the last two years, who has passed the baton to Leni Boorstin.  Under Cynthia's positive, solutions-based leadership, we have expanded the Board to better reflect the diverse arts community.  On behalf of the Board and Staff of Arts for LA, we salute you!

Fueled by 90 organizational members, Arts for LA now reaches a robust network of 20,000+ committed advocates throughout Los Angeles County. With dedicated leadership, our advocacy campaigns succeeded in retaining vital cultural resources at the County, City Council and School Board level. Oh, and have you seen our new website? Now it's even easier to take action, join a team, share relevant news and comment on a forum to participate in this regional advocacy movement.

We've created the portal, the opportunity and the organization, but you are what powers the effort. Arts for LA is you!

Your commitment and participation in this regional advocacy effort is paying off. As cities and school districts continue to face enormous deficits due to the economic downturn, local advocacy has become as important as the "diversified funding stream" in supporting a strong, diverse cultural infrastructure.

With generous support from the Boeing Company and the National Endowment for the Arts, this year Arts for LA will build five community teams and five school district arts ed teams in addition to our existing five Arts Ed Teams. That means that by the end of 2011, Arts for LA will support fifteen community teams throughout the County. Galvanizing communities to speak about the intrinsic value of arts and culture to local school districts and city councils will retain existing resources and lay the foundation to build support for arts and arts education for all in our region. Be sure to visit our team page and sign up for the team that best suites your geographical interest.

We are pleased to welcome Abe Flores to the Arts for LA staff as our new Arts Education Advocacy Manager. Abe will be working with the existing five arts ed advocacy teams and building five new ones. Abe is a graduate of Montebello Unified School District and is finishing up his Masters in Public Administration at Cal State LA. Please take a moment to welcome Abe!

I'd also like welcome our newest organizational members: LACHSA's Arts High Foundation, PS Arts, UCLA Live and LA’s Best. Make sure you are counted as an official "Arts for LA" organizational member - join today. Remember, membership is designed to fit your organizational budget.

Whether it's through membership, joining a team, or participating in an online action, advocacy takes many forms. We welcome them all and thank you for being a part of this very exciting regional effort.


- Danielle

Photos: Camille, Tara and Danielle, the Arts for LA Staff (photo by Dawid Jaworski); Cynthia Campoy Brophy presenting (photo by Mitch Maher); new staff member Abe Flores (photo by Dawid Jaworski)

Looking Back

Congrats Danielle! With all the cuts that have happened in LAUSD to the Arts program (me included) we in Local District 7 are still finding ways to keep the Arts alive. Even though I am no longer an Arts Advisor my wonderful superintendent lets me support the Arts as much as I can. We have a partnership with LACMA for the next 4 years to have teacher artists in some of our schools.


Keep up the great work you are doing to keep the Arts alive in LA!