2013 Grants Challenge

Craft Meets Impact: Hub LA Media Lab

What if there were a place in LA where artists, media makers, social entrepreneurs, and individual citizens could come together under one roof and collaborate? What if artists had more customized support and were able to explore new ways to get their projects made and participate in creating media that mattered?

Imagine a collaborative community anchored by a physical gathering place in Los Angeles which brings visual artists together with social entrepreneurs to create meaningful change. A place that equips artists and creative professionals with the enterprising tools needed to create their work and sustain themselves. A place that is home to a diverse community that:

-Brings forth disruptive new ideas and technologies -Changes distribution dramatically -Redefines a service and product -Focuses the disorganized and connects the disconnecte -Challenges the infrastructure, changes the rules and the flow of information -Democratizes access and directs gains to the creator -Honors the individual AND the community -Takes the lead on new ethics, a new business model that cares for not just profit but also people and the planet

That place and community exists now.

Hub LA opened in September 2012 as a new kind of gathering place in the Arts District in Downtown LA. With near 200 members and growing, Hub LA uses collaborative consumption and community-sourcing to provide the space, resources, and relationships individuals and teams need to launch and scale their projects. It is the place for professionals of all disciplines who are dedicated to making a better world and co-creating our new economy. To accomplish this vision, we know we must design a place that includes artists and creative professionals, and amplify the role of arts and culture in building a more just economy.

After being open six months, we are launching a Media Lab that will be a physical resource of 3200 square feet with additional programming for media makers, storytellers, and visual artists of all kinds because we believe building this kind of infrastructure and institution will do three key things to spur innovation in the arts and culture sector in a way we haven’t seen before.

1) Social good start-ups will have access to cutting edge talent to tell the stories that set these new companies apart. These stories are critical for social entrepreneurs to attract capital and tap into loyal customers looking to buy from sustainable, pro-social brands;

2) Artists will have access to entrepreneurial energy and start-up resources along side ongoing critique from a curated community of peers. Equipping artists and creative professionals with the business acumen and tools to produce their own work will allow more people to make a viable living from their creative pursuits; and

3) Be a home for the disruptive companies that are leading the way towards a “New Hollywood.” Start-ups that are democratizing access to production, distribution, and funding; collectives of creative professionals launching new design businesses; and storytellers who are creating meaningful, different, yet entertaining work: we want this to be your headquarters.

Hub LA’s Media Lab aims to build a world in which artists and social entrepreneurs collaborate and combine storytelling with new media to create social change and in turn provide entrepreneurial tools for artists to sustain themselves.

Anchored by a physical space equipped with the necessary technical equipment for multimedia creation, the Media Lab will:

Make new media equipment accessible, thereby attracting local independent artists in need of affordable professional facilities;

Cultivate a talent pool of modern artists through programs built around design thinking, data visualization, and brand-building; and

Develop new mediums and channels for content distribution through partnerships with content distributors in the multimedia industries; and

Provide the enterprising training and new models of collaborative funding that will lead to a more sustainable arts and culture sector in Los Angeles.

Our Media Lab will serve as a platform for connecting storytellers, photographers, videographers, designers, programmers, visual artists, and social entrepreneurs in a media facility fully equipped with pre-production, production, and post-production equipment. This space will benefit the creation, dissemination, and support of LA’s next generation creative artists and provide a new model that’s part institution, part campus, and part innovation lab to spur Arts and Culture in Los Angeles.


What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

Hub LA has building the social enterprise community in Los Angeles since 2009 and had a physical gathering place since September 2012. Since then we have built a community of 175 members...and growing!

These members fall across 12 Change Sectors including: Art and Design, Clean Tech/Renewable Energy, Community Development, Education, Environmental Sustainability, Impact Investing, International Development, Local Food, Media and Entertainment, Public Health and Tech Services for Change; Roughly 70% of members categorizing themselves as social entrepreneurs; the largest sector represented is Media and Entertainment followed by Community Development and Education.

We have constructed and created 4500 square feet of creative work, meeting, and event space.

We have built out an additional 3200 square feet to create the Media Lab

Sponsorship and partnership of over 50 events to date supporting organizations such as GOOD, Acumen Fund, AIGA, Praxis Labs, Dell Women’s Network for Entrepreneurship, Green Festival, Social Justice Institute to name a few.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Hub Los Angeles, since opening in 2012 has partnered and collaborated with over 30 organizations from media and entertainment to civic, tech, education and importantly, social enterprise. Our near 200-member community in LA as well as the 10,000+ Hub members around the world serves as a spine of support as we build the Media Lab programming & community.

As of this date, the Media Lab has official support with partners from Film Independent, Los Angeles Film Festival, KUSC, Sci-Arc, AIGA, Taproot Foundation, LA Opera & professionals/mentors to help build programming, events & residencies from CAA, Universal Pictures, NBC Universal, Focus Features, Media Rights Capital, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox Studios, Sony Motion

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

First and foremost, success for the Media Lab will be measured by the number and quality of members that we will build in this burgeoning community. We are successful if we can attract a cross-disciplinary group of creative professionals who are dedicated to creating content that sits at the intersection of message and meaning. Media Lab success will be determined by:

Finding Media professionals looking to bring their expertise to new projects that make a difference and operate outside the traditional ‘studio system’

Creating a community of Content Creators, and Pro Amateurs unable to complete their work because they lack access to affordable technical facilities and like-minded community.

Anyone looking to gain, and share, multimedia skills through training and educational programs. Our members will be accomplished, and will have both something to offer and to learn from the community.

Graduate 10 members/year from Hub LA Media Lab Media Acclerator Program

Contribute to Diversity Programs across town including: Project Involve, Sundance Labs, Fox Diversity Program, Universal Pictures Diversity Writers Program, Disney Writing Programs, USC and UCLA Film School programs, Tribeca Film Festival Social Innovators

By 2014, create programming, labs and events for community outreach to look and foster diverse talent and content creators looking to create media for social change.

By 2014, all Media Lab members will have participated in mentorship programs, office hours, business acceleration services seeded through Hub LA.

By 2014, create an Artist-in-Residence program dedicated to building a library of data visualizations and furthering how digital artists can help foster social innovation; specific focus on education and environmental justice.

Monthly events/salons/panels to discuss future of media, disruption, community values and create a safe harbour for new innovation, white papers, discussion and collaboration to grow.

By 2014, Hub LA will pilot a pro-social production company model beginning in fall 2013 that will identify and seek out opportunities to produce meaningful projects across a wide-range of disciplines including:

-Advocacy Campaigns/PSAs

-TV, Film, Scripts, Literary Arts

-Digital Art, Performance Art, and Data Visualization

By 2015, we will have created a measurably diverse community of 300 Media Lab members comprised of a number of individuals, start-ups, and growth organizations/companies who share a common value of creating positive social and environmental change in the world through content-creation.

By 2015, 75% of Hub Media Lab members will be contributing to the ”impact economy” of Los Angeles through all manners of media, adding to arts and culture first through LA and then spreading globally.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

The Hub LA Media Lab provides solutions based on these three core assumptions:

Meaningful storytelling creates change. Stories connect people. Storytelling is the single most powerful way to move people towards empathy and action. For a social entrepreneur, storytelling expresses the “why” and sets a brand apart in the marketplace, expanding impact, audience, and reach.

Top-down Hollywood Studio model is becoming less relevant. Audiences are hungry for meaningful, authentic stories and original content. Studios are designed to prioritize the bottom line over content, reducing all projects to profit maximizing endeavors.

New disruptive models are changing the entertainment industry. Whether it is more accessible technology to create content or new platforms to distribute and consume media, the entertainment industry and the studio model is in flux. New distribution models and ideas will soon need to be embraced.


After surveying a significant sample of LA’s multimedia professionals, we’ve found three critical roadblocks impeding them from attaining their full potential:

-High costs associated with production & post-production facilities

-Limited access to talented collaborators for feedback & peer review

-Difficulty reaching appropriate distribution channels


Anchored by a physical space with the needed technical equipment to create multimedia and visual arts projects, and hosting a community of independent artists and social entrepreneurs, the Media Lab space will be a new beacon for the Arts and Culture sector and allow Angelenos to:

Access professional facilities and equipment as well as a dedicated community diverse enough to provide for all talent required when producing a project;

Expand the impact of the social entrepreneurs and changemakers through visual media and storytelling resources and thereby amplify Los Angeles creative and social good sectors, thus attracting new talent from around the world;

Explore how the artists and professional content creators, when connected with social entrepreneurs and socially-minded investors, gain the skills needed to sustain themselves and accelerate the creation and dissemination of their own projects; and

Through the Global Hub Network, connect with new national and global models of collaborative funding and legal structures being tested such as Seed and Spark and TrustArt that spur arts and culture.

Media Programs will include:

Artist-in-Resident program dedicated to building a library of data visualizations and furthering how digital artists can help foster social innovation; specific focus on education and environmental justice.

Diversity Programing that include mentorship from across town including: Project Involve, Sundance Labs, Fox Diversity Program, Universal Pictures Diversity Writers Program, Disney Writing Programs, USC and UCLA Film School programs, Tribeca Film Festival Social Innovators

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

By 2050, Hub LA Media Lab will be an anchor institution within the Arts and Culture sector and be the place Angelenos look to for social innovation in Los Angeles. By 2050, Hub LA Media Lab will be true to its name by being a hub that:

Enables individuals with projects and start-up teams to tell their stories and promote their brand/product through digital media

Provides a place for talented storytellers and technical experts in media and entertainment to ‘give back’ and support social enterprises and causes

Enables professional and emerging content creators and artists to inspire, be inspired and complete original works in a collaborative setting

Hosts events and film premieres revolved around budding new filmmakers, new voices, diverse talent and place to be heard

Features classes, speaking events, conferences catered towards developing and helping artists

Is a pioneer for fair and equitable distribution of projects - all manners of multi-media

A place for any creator to find ancillary services around content creation and media

A safe place for advocacy of the artist

A dedicated community of vetted partnerships/sponsorships around talent and content creation