We have less than two weeks till the Nov 8 election. In California, we have 17 state propositions on the ballot, in addition to local measures. To help make the best informed decisions possible, we surveyed candidates in all local elections, and we also endorse Prop 55 and Measure A and M, all of which contribute to greater access to arts and arts education (details below).
The story of America at this moment is fraught with ideology. Most visibly in the political sphere, there has been a loss of civility and respect, in how we treat each other, in how we talk to and about each other. When words are used as weapons and walls are being built, to change the public discourse requires new narratives and ways of connecting to each other. As Tahir Shah writes, "Stories are a communal currency of humanity" (In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams).
A new school year has begun. We all know arts education is central to the development of all children and to ongoing creative engagement for people of all ages. Arts for LA has a strong record of advocating for the equitable distribution of arts education for all students.
Anyone watching the news knows that the fall election season has begun in earnest. There is much to focus on locally, and at a recent meeting with the LA County Registrar-Recorder, we learned that there will be a minimum of 19 ballot measures to consider on November 8.
We are a nation, and a world, in pain. Orlando. Baton Rouge. Minneapolis. Dallas. Nice. Istanbul. This partial list of cities has become a found poem of violence, anger, and despair that catalogues an almost weekly assault on individuals, human dignity, and civil rights.
When our hearts ache with pain, many of us look to the power of art to heal, to help process strong emotions, such as anger and grief. Recently, the Los Angeles Times acknowledged this capacity with a series of articles, "The Culture of Anger," exploring the ways artists are - and are not - processing the difficult world we are living in.
On June 10, 2016, the Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) held their annual Planning and Land-Use Strategies Summit (PLUS2) geared towards addressing analytical thinking and collaboration around issues related to urban areas, community building, and innovation. Arts for LA co-sponsored the event, and the arts & advocacy were embedded throughout the day. This year’s theme ‘Disrupting the City’ attracted a diverse arrangement of speakers and issues including but not limited to: city planning, food systems, art and gentrification, housing, and architecture. During the summit, each panel emphasized these two themes: to continuously challenge the status quo while leaning on a supportive community that understands the importance of affordable housing in cities.
During the summer of 2015 while planning the second year of ACTIVATE, Arts for LA recognized an opportunity to expand the program to a new audience: students. Based on a “train-the-trainer” model, this program would train those who are already engaged with students on ways to incorporate advocacy training into their work with youth.
In May 2015, Arts for LA had participated in LA Youth Vote, the United Way’s initiative to register high school students to vote, and staff had personally registered students to vote and chaperoned them to the voting booth on May 19, 2015. That powerful moment inspired Arts for LA to consider ways to engage young voices that wanted and needed to be heard.
On Wednesday, May 25, Arts for LA's ACTIVATE 2015-16 fellows celebrated the culmination of their 9 months of training with a ceremony at the Japanese American National Museum.
Sponsored by OVATION, the evening included a spoken word performance by Gordon Ip of Get Lit - Words Ignite, followed by welcoming remarks by executive director Sofia Klatzker, who acknowledged the incredible reach of the leadership training program: “After two years, we have 138 ACTIVATE fellows representing and impacting 26 cities and 34 school districts.”
Dear Superintendent King,
Congratulations on your unanimous appointment to Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Growing up in Los Angeles and graduating from Hamilton High School, I have seen first hand your inclusive leadership and your commitment to students, teachers, and parents.
Arts for LA looks forward to working with you who so deeply knows the needs of our students and is dedicated to finding solutions to the myriad challenges they face and making opportunities available to everyone.
On Saturday, December 5, cohorts from both the Arts Education and Cultural Policy tracks of Art for LA’s ACTIVATE Arts Advocacy Leadership Program gathered at the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts for a day-long Leadership and Taking Action seminar.
The seminar featured six guest speakers and four workshop sessions. ACTIVATE participants were given the opportunity to refine their leadership skills, discuss barriers and solutions to equity issues, practice communication strategies, and learn about community organizing. The session helped to lay the foundation for the ACTIVATE action projects set to begin in Spring of 2016.