LA Convergence 2016

November 03, 2016 at 8:45am - 4:30pm
Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
4718 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
United States
Google map and directions

Will you come?

$125.00 One Entry to 2015 Convergence (New Membership - Organization or Individual)
One Entry to 2015 Convergence
$75.00 Discounted Member Ticket (Org, Ind, ACTIVATE Alumni)
Discounted Member ticket








Join Arts for LA for a day of dialogue and collaboration around issues facing Los Angeles County. Designed to challenge assumptions, explore new ideas, and identify potential solutions, the LA Convergence strengthens our ability to chart a path toward a prosperous, engaged, and creative region for all. 

The 2016 theme is Amplifying Our Stories. In a year when some voices are silenced or not heard, many communities are turning to art to express and understand this difficult moment in our country. As a catalyst for cross-sector conversations and collaboration, the LA Convergence will leverage storytelling as a way to articulate problems as well as to envision solutions.

Keynote Speakers

Renee_Tajima-Pena_headshot.Credit_Claudio_Rocha.jpgRenee Tajima-Peña is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker whose credits include Who Killed Vincent Chin?, MY AMERICA...or Honk if You Love Buddha, The New Americans: Mexico Story, Calavera Highway, and her newest film, No Más Bebés. Her films have screened at the Cannes, Hong Kong, New Directors/New Films, SXSW, Sundance and Toronto film festivals and the Whitney Biennial and she has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, USA Broad Fellowship, Alpert Award in the Arts for Film/Video, a Peabody and a Dupont-Columbia Award. Tajima-Peña teaches social documentary at UCLA, where she is a professor of Asian American Studies, the director of the Center for EthnoCommunications and holds an endowed chair in Japanese American Studies. She is the inaugural Filmmaker-in-Residence of the International Documentary Association. Tajima-Peña never went to film school, but traces the origins as a filmmaker to her student activism. She was chair of the United Front Against Apartheid at Harvard, and while a student, made her first short film documenting the Socialist New Jewel Movement in Grenada. She has been deeply involved in  filmmakers of color movements and started her career as a member of the Third World Newsreel film collective. 


Poet and performer Mayda Del Valle has been described by the Chicago Sun Times as having “a way with words. Sometimes they seem to flutter and roll off her lips. Other times they burst forth like a comet streaking across a nighttime sky.” A proud native of Chicago’s South Side, she appeared on 6 episodes of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO and was a contributing writer and original cast member of the Tony Award winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. She has been featured in Latina Magazine, The Source, The New York Times and was named by Smithsonian Magazine as one of America’s Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences. Oprah’s “O” Magazine selected her as one of 20 women for their first ever “O Power List”, a group of visionary women making a mark in business, politics, and the arts. In May of 2009 she was invited to perform at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady. She is currently Program Director with the poetry-based non-profit youth organization Street Poets Inc., and is also a dancer and vocalist with the Los Angeles based Afro-Puerto Rican bomba group Cunyá.  


Schedule (subject to change)

8:45 – 9:45 am: Coffee & Registration

9:45 – 10:45am

Welcome:  Sofia Klatzker, Arts for LA

Opening Keynotes: Renee Tajima-Peña, Mayda Del Valle

10:45 – 11:15 am: Networking

11:15 am – 12:30 pm: Breakout Series 1

Creating Equity: Amplifying Conversations and Strategies About Race

Themes: Race Relations, Community Organizing, Arts Representation

The past 18 months have elevated our national conversation about race to unprecedented levels. Activists, advocates, and artists are challenging racism and bringing people together to heal and build community in our region in powerful ways. Join us for an opportunity to dig deeper into those conversations and practices and share stories and strategies to foster more inclusive communities. This session will feature short presentations from speakers followed by the opportunity to gather in small groups for discussion 

Moderator: Ella Turrene, Dean for Community Engagement, Occidental College


Taz Ahmed, 18MillionRising

Francisco Ortega, Human Relations Committee, City of Los Angeles

Zachary Price, Chancellor’s Fellow, UCLA

Alberto Retana, President & CEO, Community Coalition


Equity Can’t Wait: The Role of Policy and Advocacy in Advancing Education

Themes:            Educational Equity, Education Reform, Student Voices

We are at a critical moment to address issues of equity in our education system. As rates of incarceration increase, the question is begged if we are perpetuating the school to prison pipeline or interrupting it. Important policies in California like the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) have intended to address equity from a policy level and on the ground advocacy efforts have also made incredible strides in turning the tables on equity, particularly in the arts. In this session, the audience will be invited to both observe and participate in a fishbowl style dialogue with a variety of perspectives.

Moderator: Mario Davila, LA’s BEST


Dr. Yvonne Contreras, LA County Office of Education

Alex Johnson, Executive Director, Childrens Defense Fund-CA

Xochitl Morales, Student, Wonderful College Prep Academy


Neighborhoods & Place: Evolving Communities 

Themes:            Gentrification, Development

Our communities are ever-evolving places. This session will explore the role of artists and arts and cultural organizations in this evolution, looking specifically at local initiatives. 


Evonne Gallardo

Maria Rosario Jackson

Karen Mack, LA Commons 


12:45 – 1:15 pm: Lightning Round Breakout: Solutions & Technical Assistance (TED Talk Style)

ROUND 1  The Critical Role of Nonprofits During Elections

Shyaam Subramanian, Alliance for Justice

Themes: Nonprofit rights during elections

There are common misperceptions about the role nonprofits can play in elections, when in fact, nonprofits have extensive legal rights and options within the electoral process. Come get informed about how to amplify your advocacy efforts.


ROUND 2  Innovative Approaches to Social Change

Carolyn Wagner, Founder, Do Good LA

Themes: Social entrepreneurship

Artists are catalysts of our society and economy. There is a greater need than ever for social entrepreneurs who can lead creative innovation efforts to drive forward important social change. This session will dive into the movement of social entrepreneurship in Greater Los Angeles and the implications for the arts sector.


ROUND 3  Epiphany at the Center of a Paradigm Shift

Presenter: Kamal Sinclair, Director, New Frontier Lab, Sundance Institute

Themes: Technology, media, storytelling

Kamal Sinclair, Director of the Sundance Institute's New Frontier Lab Program, shares her journey as a theatermaker turned story-enabling technology expert, during a major shift in our communication architecture at the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution. 


1:15 – 2:00 pm: Lunch


2:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Breakout Series 2 

The Power of the Arts to Make Social Change

Themes:             Mass Incarceration, Prison Reform

In an age of mass incarceration, artist and arts practice have a powerful role to play. For over 10 years The Actors' Gang theater company has demonstrated the power of arts in corrections in addressing rehabilitation and recidivism. This participatory session will put center stage the voices of community members who have been formerly incarcarted and artists who teach behind bars and invite the audience to experience a taste of the transformative practices used within prisons.

Presenter:            Sabra Williams, The Actor’s Gang


Telling Stories from the Inside/Outside

Themes:             A Conversation between Renee Tajima-Peña and Mayda Del Valle

Continue the conversation with Renee and Mayda from the morning keynote and dive more in depth about their respective work to amplIfy unheard voices. Learn about the process of identifying characters for critical narratives and documenting stories visually, through oral history, while building trust in the process. 


3:30 pm: Reception


Read more about our Presenters.



Online registration has closed.  Registration is still open and tickets will be available at the door. To register after November 1, please contact Charles Flowers at [email protected], or at 213-225-7524.

Tickets to the Convergence range in price from $75 to $125.

Member Organizations, Contributing Members, and 2016-17 ACTIVATE Fellows

Admission to the 2016 LA Convergence is included in Membership Dues for Arts for LA Member Organizations and Contributing Members. Because organizations of different sizes have different capacity, we have created a tiered attendance structure to help our member organizations identify how many people can attend:

Current Member Organization Dues Level            Number of Free Registrations Available
Emerging, $125, $250 1
$500, $750,  2
$1000, $2500 3
  • Contributing Members at the $120 level or higher receive 1 admission to the LA Convergence.

  • 2016-17 ACTIVATE Fellows receive one free admission to the LA Convergence.

  • ACTIVATE Alumni and additional tickets for Member Organizations & Contributing Members are $75 - a 40% discount.  PURCHASE

Emerging Arts Leader Scholarships

Arts for LA will offer 10 scholarships to Emerging Arts Leaders. To apply for the scholarship, please send an email to [email protected] explaining why you would like to attend and how it will benefit your professional development. Scholarship applications are due Friday, October 21.

New Member Registration

If you or your organization are not currently an Arts for LA Member, there's no better time to join than the LA Convergence.  We're offering free admission to the 2016 LA Convergence for any individual or organization who pays the $125 Membership dues at the time of registration. For the next twelve months, you or your organization will have special access to convenings like ArtsDay as well as smaller events we host around arts education, creative economy, and civic engagement issues. Join here

The 2016 LA Convergence is made possible with the support of its Member OrganizationsContributing Members, and the following:


General support for Arts for LA is provided by: 






















If you missed the LA Convergence 2015, we've posted a video of highlights from the day on YouTube.