2021 Grants Challenge

Aural Atlas: Soundwalks throughout Los Angeles

The LA Soundwalk is your musical soundtrack to self-guided exploration of five of the city’s physical and human landscapes: beach, canyon, harbor, hills, and urban core. Through collaborations with community members, emerging composers, and local performers; sonic portraits of these diverse regions connect people with place, incite curiosity, and foster community. Anyone with a smartphone and headphones--from students to families and visitors--can immerse themselves in innovative music that sustainably interconnects, inspires, and empowers.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA


South Bay

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

The city of Los Angeles is vast, making it difficult for communities to feel connected and for citizens to connect with those in other regions and with backgrounds unlike their own. Visitors to the city often only superficially experience the incomparable mosaic of human and physical landscapes that make our city unique. Los Angeles is rich in diverse topographies and the diverse human experiences that shape them, yet incentives to leave our own neighborhoods or to stop and enjoy the beauty around us can be difficult to find, monotonous, or costly. While curricula across the city’s schools teach the history and culture of this place, experiences outside the classroom can feel uninspired or unattainable. Further, young composers, performers, and creatives lack opportunities to authentically showcase their work, and experimental choral music itself can appear esoteric and unattainable despite its ability to encapsulate the hybridity and complexity of the city’s history and inhabitants.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The LA City Soundwalk allows both residents and visitors an ongoing, free, and unique opportunity to explore the various and diverse regions and communities of the city through interactive, self-paced sonic experiences that are based on and developed by the citizens of those regions. Tentative regions = Canyon: Franklin Canyon, Hollywood; Beach: Santa Monica Pier, Westside; Harbor: San Pedro, South Bay; City: Urban Core, Downtown; Hills: Kenneth Hahn Park, Mid-City. Anyone with a smartphone and headphones can travel to one of the Soundwalk sites and immerse themselves--on their own time and in their own way--in the multifaceted places that make LA special. Teachers can utilize this free resource to enhance pre-existing curricula, and community leaders can offer it to highlight the unique spirit of their neighborhood. Launch parties, staggered throughout the year, sustain interest and ensure that people of many backgrounds engage in the opportunity to connect with others and with the land. The music itself will interconnect and hybridize techniques, genres, and performance styles, using innovative technology to uplift experimental choral music and engage new audiences through accessible compositions and immersive experiences. Through targeted outreach and collaboration, not only will the experiences authentically leverage the diverse voices of the city, but they will also transform the city into a platform to showcase young talent through innovative, sustainable public art.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 6,220

Indirect Impact: 10,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

These organic, authentic creations will cause participants to feel a deeper connection to the city and its inhabitants, sparking curiosity and fostering empathy. The music uplifts diverse voices through collaboration and the elevation of emerging composers and local performers. Pieces intentionally reflect the character of varied neighborhoods, enticing both residents and visitors to explore beyond the habitual and superficial. The LA City Soundwalks will become a lasting way in which individuals and communities connect with their city and with one another. The Soundwalks can live on in perpetuity, free of charge, and visitors can return and experience the piece and place in a unique way each time. The Soundwalks will become opportunities to learn about the city and about experimental choral music. Launch parties will bring people together. Lesson plans based on the Soundwalks will address the history and culture of the place as well as the collaborative, innovative artistic process.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We are currently hosting SOUNDWALK in Griffith Park. Ticket sales are one key indicator, in addition to feedback collected from participants, composers, performers, and collaborators. A short documentary will depict some of this feedback, and basic demographic information collected in registration allows for evaluation of outreach. The quality of the works themselves also reflects the fulfillment of an ambitious musical goal. The extension of this project will include additional methods of measuring impact. Data from registrations in both launch parties as well as ongoing, self-guided experiences will measure the scope of impact. Some pieces may include interactive elements in which participants reflect on their observations and share through a public installation or online forum. Partnerships with music educators and other creators in the city will also indicate the possibilities provided by the endeavor. We may also produce an album and collect data on streaming this free resource.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Collaborators to be determined in research phase of the project

Which of the CONNECT metrics will you impact?​

Public arts and cultural events

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the best place to PLAY