2022 Grants Challenge

Fremont Healthy Culture Hub

Idea by LA Commons

In the Florence Graham neighborhood, LA Commons will leverage the power of art and culture to create an oasis of belonging at Fremont Healthy Culture hub, empowering students at Fremont High School and their fellow community residents to take charge in advocating for one of their top health priorities - community safety.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Community Coalition Fremont High School LA Neighborhood Land Trust LA County Dept. of Arts and Culture UMMA Clinic Trust for Children’s Health USC Price School of Public Policy

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

Community Safety

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

South LA

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?

In Florence Graham, South LA - with the largest population of system-involved youth in the County - is a place where families are highly impacted by immigration and justice systems - Fremont HS is heavily immigrant 20% of students don’t speak English at home and 97% qualify for Free Lunch. Risk of system involvement is so high for youth, that LA County Dept. of Probation has funded our work onsite. However, there is a beautiful wellness complex providing healing services to students and neighbors at UMMA Community Clinic and gardens run by LA Neighborhood Land Trust. Since 2017, we’ve engaged youth to generate public art reflecting the community’s vision and empowering everyone across generations to take ownership of the space. Safety in Florence Graham means local artists and culture-bearers, youth and residents co-creating a place of community belonging and wellness, sharing restorative practices, and increasing youth pathways to creative learning, leadership and employment.

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

At Fremont Healthy Culture Hub, youth artists lift up rich cultural traditions of immigrants from Mexico and Central America alongside African American residents living in the neighborhood for generations. From formal dances to drumming to gardening and seasonal rituals, we enable young people at risk for system involvement to connect to their heritage as a strategy for healing. As part of our initiative, community members will develop and engage in cultural programs to address local needs for healing and social support. Currently, they are working with participating organizations to conduct cultural asset mapping to identify local artists, culture bearers and healers to provide wellness programming onsite. Our action plan is focused on four major activities: community engaged planning, participatory cultural asset mapping, artist residencies and a Wellness Festival that culminate with deep involvement of community members to ensure the outcomes reflect local needs and aspirations. They drive all aspects of the project from identifying the artists, sites, and cultural practices that define the neighborhood to planning the design for the residencies, building community agency and belonging in a precarious time. This begins a process to bring arts and culture from the periphery to the center of programming at the site.

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

With Healthy Culture Hub, we’ve created a model for the community to take charge of their well-being based on the belonging that comes from access to cultural resources that foster collective engagement, a sense of wholeness and empowerment for all. We’ve begun implementation of this model in Leimert Park and we envision bringing it to all the neighborhoods in South LA where we work and beyond. In a talk recently, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, head of LA County Dept. of Public Health spoke on what was necessary to advance public health in communities with poor outcomes, particularly after COVID: the community has to lead the process as they know what they need - with adequate resources dedicated to supporting their leadership, they can achieve wellness in their neighborhoods. Our success will be that the Healthy Culture Hub model provides a basis for communities throughout Los Angeles to achieve the belonging that enables them to feel safe and connected and in charge of their own well-being.

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

With seed funding from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town program, this project builds on four years of ongoing cross-sector collaboration among the organizational partners beginning in 2018. The current integrates the creative placekeeping activities with the larger community vision to prioritize outcomes of the project. Essential input from community arts/cultural and other stakeholders identify key micro-communities and people and place connections. Our documentation and evaluation team supports community stakeholders to refine metrics and create tools to generate meaningful input and broad involvement. We are currently working with an evaluator from the LA County Department of Arts and Culture to review the initial stage of the project. In addition, the youth, artists and resident advisors are writing evaluations. Focus groups with partners Community Coalition, UMMA Clinic, and LA Neighborhood Land Trust will help direct the project.

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

Direct Impact: 640

Indirect Impact: 30,000

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

Community Coalition is organizing the project with us. Fremont High School, UMMA Clinic, and LA Neighborhood Land Trust host the sites for the Fremont Healthy Culture Hub, do outreach to the community, and collaborate together to inform programming. Trust for Children’s Health supports UMMA Clinic youth educators in serving their community. The Los Angele County Department of Arts and Culture and USC Price School of Public Policy will evaluate and measure the impacts of the Healthy Culture Hub. The resident advisors are a group of community members who plan what activities they want to bring to their community.