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2022 Grants Challenge

ARC Creatives: Healing & Career Pathways Through the Arts

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition's mission is to end mass incarceration and create safe, healthy communities through a support network for formerly incarcerated people. Our program connects Foster- and Systems-Impacted youth returning home from incarceration in Los Angeles access to Creative Industry Employment in music and film to address significant Income Inequality in our community through Youth Economic Advancement.

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What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by Snap Foundation)

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

County of Los Angeles

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

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

ARC addresses the recidivism crisis among young people in LA by helping them to thrive safely at home. This project targets two issues which contribute to high incarceration and rearrest rates. First, the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is nearly five times higher than the rate for the general population. LA2050 funds will provide stipends and cover fees for participants, which are critical in establishing financial stability upon release from incarceration. Further, incarcerated people in California receive 8-37 cents/hour in regular jobs and 30-95 cents/hour in prison industry jobs. When they are released, many people struggle to pay for necessities, so grant funding will allow students to focus on their studies and career instead of just surviving. Second, incarcerated people are more likely to have experienced abuse and trauma even before entering prison, which this project will directly address via trauma-informed, healing arts education and career pathways.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

ARC strengthens communities and reduces crime by providing a support and advocacy network for and by formerly incarcerated people in Los Angeles County, including, but not limited to, art production and arts career training. This project and funding from the LA2050 Grant Challenge will build capacity for formerly incarcerated youth to access Creative Industry Employment in local, high growth industries like music and entertainment and will address the significant Income Inequality that our service population experiences. Grant support will have an immediate impact on the enhancement of a music group, music mentorship program, music studio at our youth transitional housing program, and Members’ own endeavors in music and entertainment careers as described in our budget proposal. This includes funding for equipment, performance fees, and streaming platform fees as well as direct cash assistance for formerly incarcerated Members enrolled in Hollywood CPR at West LA College, an entertainment training and career placement program. Hollywood CPR was founded by an IATSE Local 44 member and employs union instructors that mentor students in creative industries, educates students in over 15 entertainment career specialties, and provides a direct hiring pipeline to the most established entertainment unions in the region. Hollywood CPR enrolls formerly incarcerated Members while ARC will provide wraparound support for program enrollment, retention, and completion.

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

Our work as described in this proposal supported by the LA2050 grant, will also influence policy through our Members’ creative expression. It will help reduce crime and recidivism by helping formerly incarcerated people and their communities heal and be whole. It will also increase economic opportunity among low-income and communities of color and help close the overall wage gap between different communities in the county. It will add skilled workers to the LA County workforce, improving the region’s economy. This program will also help change the narrative around incarceration and elevate the voices of formerly incarcerated people through the arts to educate the public about mass incarceration and drive systems change for a more progressive, safer County. It will also strengthen communities in the County by supporting the economic mobility of residents and helping formerly incarcerated people contribute to the local economy and support the stability of their families.

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

ARC Creatives was designed by Members so formerly incarcerated people can support one another through their passion for the arts. We have had 30+ arts classes, workshops, and events in the last year, and many more since 2013. Our Case Managers use Neon Client & Case Management Software to track our impact. We have high job placement numbers in the entertainment industry and high rates of participation in our arts groups. Impact can also be measured by the output of creative materials including performances, songs, and the placement of members into entertainment unions. The arts have been proven to be effective therapeutic interventions that support peoples’ reintegration into society post-incarceration. The most significant evidence of the efficacy of our approach is our Membership recidivism rate (defined as a new conviction within 3 years of release) of only 10%. This rate is low in comparison to the Statewide recidivism rate of over 40% for adults and >60% for young people.

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

Direct Impact: 50

Indirect Impact: 5,000