Black Photographer Incubator Program
The Annual Black Photographer Incubator Program is a 6-week incubator that guides and nurtures LA-based photographers through a series of workshops and lectures instructed by teaching artists. The program culminates in a print sale that introduces the artist to a network of future employers, art collectors and community members.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by the 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?
Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g., using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Each sector of California's creative economy employs photographers. LA County hosts 37.4% (685,000) of California's creative labor force, the most concentrated share of creative laborers in the state by county. A pre-COVID estimate reveals 5% of those workers were Black, but those numbers have fluctuated. This means of the 874,902 Black folks living in LA County, 34,250 Black people are employed by LA's creative economy. This data reveals a huge disparity in the employment of Black people within LA's creative economy. Though little data is available on the number of Black photographers represented within LA's creative economy, we've received countless testimonials from our support network that our resources are vital to their creative development. Each member of our team is also a Black creative laborer based in LA, and each one of us has a personal experience related to the issue we're passionately working to solve.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
The program consists of three six-week incubation cycles that will equip each cohort with the technical skills and professional network needed to succeed within LA's creative economy. Through a series of tailored workshops and lectures led by working professionals, producers and gallerists, each participant will have the opportunity to build a creative community with people who share their culture. The residents are then able to develop a sense of confidence in themselves, along with acquiring a competitive set of necessary skills to bid for jobs in the creative and entertainment industry. For a culmination of each cycle, every participant may choose to donate a portion of the profits from our print auction benefit to the following year's cohort of residents, encouraging a self-sustained residency model that will continue to empower future generations of photographers and storytellers.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
We intend to run three incubation residencies over the 2023-24 grant cycle to tackle the issue of an inaccessible creative industry. Through offering 36 residency spaces and employing 24 teaching artists and 6 lecturers to build sustainable economic relief. Elevating economic-based issues like gentrification, food, and housing insecurity within our direct community. Our past participants have reported increased self-esteem, emotional well-being, community, and job opportunities due to exposure to our audience of 10,000 supporters. During the inaugural pilot of this program, we plan to generate revenue for residents and our organization through our benefit showcase to build off this opportunity to facilitate The Black Photographer Incubator Program annually. Our mission is to take an intersectional approach to valorize the LA Black Community by empowering Black creatives both economically and creatively by expanding Black narratives.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Black Image Center has executed multiple artist residency programs, proving the efficacy and necessity of this initiative. For our Getty residency we received a high volume of applicants, but due to our scope we had a limited amount of spaces. Individuals within our previous cohorts reported fulfillment through the community, along with an increase in confidence as working creatives. We measure our success through the emotional satisfaction of residents and job attainment after our program. 40% of participants from our most recent cohort secured jobs and offers from our network before the program concluded. Our program uniquely builds skills while effectively connecting to the creative industries. Through the expansion, we can increase the number of residents, provide livable stipends for each participant and culminate a print auction where proceeds will be shared between the artist and Black Image Center at the artist's discretion
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 125
Indirect Impact: 5,000