In 2002, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established the Arts Ed Collective to align efforts across the region with the ambitious goal that LA County’s 1.5 million public school students receive a well-rounded education that includes the arts. The Arts Ed Collective is comprised of policy makers, educators, arts organizations, teaching artists, funders, business leaders, and community advocates. Strategic direction for the initiative is guided by the Leadership Council and the Funders Council. The LA County Arts Commission staff coordinates the initiative and the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) provides curriculum and instructional services for educators Countywide.
In April 2018, LA County became the first local government in California to formally adopt the Declaration of Students’ Rights to Equity in Arts Learning, recognizing the importance of arts education for all students regardless of race, culture, religion, national origin, place of residence, socio-economic, or legal status. Consequently, the Board of Supervisors identified the need for an updated regional plan for arts education that reflects the current priorities and educational landscape of LA County, and subsequently directed the Arts Commission to report back with the process, plan, and budgetary needs for updating the 2002 Arts for All: LA County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education. The Arts Commission reported back with a process that would involve County-wide outreach, community forums, online feedback, working groups, the LA County Arts Ed Collective Leadership Council, and community advisors. The process would also include youth, parents, teaching artists, arts organizations, classroom teachers, and school district administrators representing all five LA County Supervisorial Districts.
The Arts Ed Collective has recently coordinated the following research and community engagement processes that will guide and inform the update of the Regional Plan for Art Education.
- The Arts Education Innovation Lab develops and tests strategies for accomplishing the goals of the Arts Ed Collective at scale across LA County. This working group has focused on examining and eliminating persistent inequities in arts education with events and actions that enable the stakeholder to brainstorm solutions, develop prototypes, and test their hypotheses. They have identified shared goals and strategies to bring arts education to scale in a Framework for Action that can serve as a launch pad for stakeholder engagement within the Regional Plan for Arts Education process.
- The Arts Ed Profile is a report and tool that tells a story about the current state of public arts education in LA County. Completed in 2017, this study finds that arts education is part of the curriculum in most LA County public schools, that its quality can be improved, and that persistent problems of equity must be addressed if we are to ensure that all students have the benefits of high quality arts education. The Arts Ed Profile online tool enables the public to see the status of arts education at any school in LA County. Schools will be updating their data annually; current data will be released in February 2019.
- Developing work-based learning opportunities and career pathways for young people (with an emphasis on students of color, low-income students, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, current/former foster youth, and youth on probation) is a key funded recommendation of LA County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative (CEII). In early 2019, the Arts Commission will release a field scan of creative pathways for youth. The field scan will provide an analysis of the current state of creative careers and recommendations for improving and expanding access.