LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Creative Pathways for Formerly Incarcerated Youth

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition's creative programming supports foster- and system-impacted youth who are returning home from incarceration. We provide these youth with training and employment opportunities in creative industries, including the music and film industries. These opportunities and pathways for employment aid in reducing the racial disparity in these industries and help close the racial wealth gap by providing these youth with the potential to be employed in high-paying and sustainable careers.


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

Opportunities for People Who Have Been Incarcerated

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 crime and recidivism rates among youth in LA by helping them thrive safely at home after incarceration. This project targets two issues that contribute to high recidivism: the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people, nearly five times higher than that of the general population; and the increased trauma and abuse incarcerated youth experience both before and during incarceration. This project will address these critical issues by supporting employment and training in creative industries to help youth establish financial stability upon release from incarceration. This will allow them to gain independence from toxic situations and eliminate reliance on criminal activity for necessary income. This project will also address trauma via trauma-informed, healing arts and creative career pathways. With all state Division of Juvenile Justice youth prisons shutting down on June 30, innovative supports for youth returning from incarceration is needed now more than ever.

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

ARC assists formerly incarcerated people by providing supportive reentry services, including career training in the entertainment industry. This project builds capacity for formerly incarcerated youth to access creative industry employment in local, high growth industries like music and film, which will address the significant income inequality that our service population experiences. Grant funds will support the music group, music career mentorship program, and music studio at our youth transitional housing program in LA. Funds will also support an enhanced film-making weekly workshop in which young Members will learn the ins-and-outs of filming and directing and will produce 24 short films over the year-long workshop. In addition, funds will allow us to offer an enhanced music training and employment program in partnership with the Community Arts Programming & Outreach Center. At this center, youth Members receive music and filmmaking training and are hired to support arts programming. Furthermore, LA2050 funds will be used to support a one-year ARCreatives Fellowship for one formerly incarcerated young adult who is in the early stages of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry and who is passionate about serving as a conduit for youth who are returning from incarceration to creative employment opportunities.

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

The impact for this project is varied, diverse, and vast. Short-term and long-term, this will lead to a reduction of crime and recidivism rates by helping formerly incarcerated people heal and offering them honest career pathways. It will increase economic opportunity and help close the wage gap among low-income and communities of color. It will add skilled workers to the LA County workforce, improving the region's economy and strengthen communities by supporting the economic mobility of residents. This program helps formerly incarcerated people contribute to the local economy and support the stability of their families. Long-term, this program will influence policy by changing the narrative around incarceration by elevating the voices and art of formerly incarcerated people. This representation of formerly incarcerated people in the arts will work to educate the public about mass incarceration and drive systems change for a more progressive, safer County.

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

ARCreatives was designed by Members so formerly incarcerated people can support each other in their pursuit of a career in the arts. Past funding from LA2050 contributed to 30+ arts classes, workshops, and events at ARC and led to an increase in the number of arts workshops and completed works of art. Impact is measured by the output of deliverables including performances, songs, films, music videos and high job placement rates in the entertainment industry and high rates of participation in our arts groups. Art is an effective therapeutic intervention that supports reintegration into society. Evidence of the efficacy of our work is our Membership recidivism rate: less than 10% compared to the statewide recidivism rate of over 60% for youth. Members benefitting from current LA2050 funding report more confidence in their artistic abilities and their ability to navigate the industry, and ~80% of Members who participated in this program last year are now employed in creative industries.

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

Direct Impact: 50

Indirect Impact: 9,800,000