Nov 22, 2019

Read about how our inaugural State of the Arts Summit went, learn about our 2019 Laura Zucker Fellowship final report, as well as an update on the Board of County Supervisor’s vote for the LA Phil to operate the Ford Theatres, and more!

With just over one month left in 2019, this Thanksgiving season reminds us of what we are thankful for and gives us the opportunity to share our gratitude.

Arts for LA is grateful to everyone who supported and attended our inaugural State of the Arts Summit on November 1st! It was inspiring to see over 220 registered attendees, representing 147 unique organizations come together to continue the work Arts for LA’s founding leadership established thirteen years ago.

We hope the State of the Arts Summit will build upon that legacy and provide a forum for arts leaders to work through the challenges and opportunities in 2020 and beyond. More on the State of the Arts Summit can be found below, and click here to see photos from the event!

November 1st also marked the release of the 2019 Laura Zucker Fellowship Research Report. Allison Agsten, our Research Fellow, studied the issue of affordable spaces for artists in Los Angeles County. See below for her staggering results.

Lastly, we are sharing an update on the outcome of the Board of County Supervisor’s vote on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association to operate the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre Complex. We also share information about the AB5 law which, when it goes into effect in 2020, could potentially reclassify millions of California artists acting as independent contractors. Read on for more.


Gustavo Herrera
Executive Director, Arts for LA


On November 1st, Arts for LA hosted its inaugural State of the Arts Summit. The event convened arts and cultural leaders from across the region to think through various policy solutions addressing common challenges.

California State Senator Ben Allen, LA Times Columnist Steve Lopez, and Laura Zucker Research Fellow Allison Agsten each offered their own unique perspectives on the arts in Los Angeles County. Four interactive breakout sessions followed the welcome and keynote remarks, focusing on the issue areas of education, affordable space, jobs, and funding. After expert presenters quickly framed each issue, participants engaged in roundtable discussions evaluating the potential impact of various policy solutions. We will continue these discussions in a working group format throughout the month of December.

We want to thank our community partners who helped make this event successful:

Photographers: Las Fotos Project

Catering: HomeGirl Industries

Venue: Los Angeles Theater Center (LATC)

We also greatly appreciate our funders who supported the Summit: The Rosenthal Family Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Department of Cultural Affairs, LA County Department of Arts and Culture, Louis L. Borick Foundation, California Arts Council, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and our Arts for LA Members.

We hope you enjoyed the Summit as much as we did — see you next Fall!



We are thrilled to present our 2019 Laura Zucker Fellowship final report, authored by Allison Agsten: (Re)inventing the Dream: Policies and Practices for Keeping Artists in Los Angeles. Allison’s research uncovered staggering facts about the current state of Los Angeles artists. Of 763 artists surveyed:

“89% stated that affordability of housing in Los Angeles County is a serious concern… [and] 90% said the same of workspace affordability.” (Agsten, p.8)
Furthermore, Agsten discovered:

“…The rate of present day and recent homelessness amongst artists surveyed is more than three times that of the current rate of homelessness in Los Angeles County.” (Agsten, p.8)
Her policy solutions highlight two important priorities: developing new affordable spaces, and preserving existing affordable spaces.

You can read her full report, including her complete findings and policy suggestions, on the Arts for LA website.

Read what The Art Newspaper had to say about Agsten’s report, and click here to share a Tweet about it!


On Tuesday November 12, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement for the LA Phil to assume a lease over the Ford Theatre. Members of the arts community attended the meeting to express a variety of perspectives. During the public comment period, Arts for LA’s Executive Director Gustavo Herrera reiterated the call for greater transparency in the stewardship of the County’s cultural resources.

The Supervisors responded to this call – co-signed by over 150 members of the Arts for LA community – by attaching an amendment that mandates community engagement sessions be part of the lease agreement. An excerpt of the amendment language is below:

“The LAPA [LA Philharmonic Association] shall hold community engagement sessions with local artists and interested stakeholders…to discuss outreach, program development, and audience development, to include recommendations on maintaining accessible and affordable ticket prices.”

Arts for LA is grateful to the members and community advocates who reached out to us about this issue and took action to ensure the creative community’s voice will continue to be heard in these critical decision-making processes. We are committed to working with all stakeholders involved to facilitate constructive, meaningful conversations as the partnership moves forward.

Convening: Unpacking AB5 – Survive + Sustain

Save the date! Join the DRC, Californians For the Arts, Arts for LA, and the Actors Fund for a convening unpacking the details of AB5.
Special Guests: Julie Baker + Adam Y. Siegel

Wednesday December 11th
10:30am – 12:30pm

Venue: To Be Determined

Click Here for More Info

Webinar: Special Employment and Labor

When AB5 goes into effect on January 1, 2020, it could dramatically reshape the future of independent workforces in California and significantly impact workers in the state’s creative economy.

On Tuesday, December 3, at 10:00am, join Stoel Rives attorneys Vida Thomas and Bryan Hawkins at this webinar presented especially for the members and friends of Californians for the Arts to learn about this new legislation, and what it means for the state’s arts community. We will also be joined by Californians for the Arts Executive Director Julie Baker. Topics to be covered include:

What AB5 does
How it will be enforced
The definition of an ‘independent contractor’
Who is exempt from AB5, and who isn’t
Preparation and proactive steps
Click Here to Register
If you have any questions or need additional information, please email