From Ricky’s Desk: May

May 7, 2024

Arts Advocates,

This year’s Arts Month was one of our most successful yet! On April 9th, we presented recommendations to the LA County Board of Supervisors on how to advance the goals of our CJCII, which were unanimously voted into public record. This unqiue opportunity resulted in the LA County CEO proposing a $1.2 million increase for the County Department of Arts and Culture Organizational Grant Program (OGP). This is a huge win, five years in the making – over 1,500 letters were sent by community members urging an increase, 5 motions were passed by the LA County Board of Supervisors in support, and several cohorts of ACTIVATE Delegates advocated for this increase in legislative meetings. Advocacy works. 

We have made significant progress at the state and regional levels, but we need to remain vigilant to protect what we’ve accomplished. Review updates below:

LA City Budget

Two weeks ago, Mayor Karen Bass proposed a citywide budget decrease of $293 million, or about 2%, from this year’s budget. The proposed budget reduces the LA City Department of Cultural Affairs budget by $2.4 million and eliminates 24 vacant positions. This would negatively impact staff capacity, city-owned spaces, and the department’s ability to serve the field. Now is not the time to divest from arts and culture. If you agree, please send a letter to City Council members today. 

Prop 28

In response to rising concerns around the misuse of Proposition 28 funds and the role CBOs play, we partnered with the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area to develop a comprehensive resource for Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). This document will be updated as needed. We are also working with Create CA to communicate our Prop 28 implementation concerns to Governor Newsom,  the State Superintendent, Senate President, and Assembly Speaker with a sign-on letter.

We need the voices of parents and community members, too. Ensure this funding is used to expand current arts education programming and increase the number of arts teachers in schools by sending a letter to your local leaders.

SMU Data Arts Workforce Demographics

This third study by SMU Dat Arts analyzing the demographic makeup of the arts and cultural workforce in LA County finds a significant shift toward greater racial and ethnic diversity since 2019, particularly at the leadership level. Overall, nearly half of the arts and culture workforce (49 percent) is composed of individuals identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). Read key highlights and the full report here.

See you next month, Changemakers.