City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

DCA generates & supports high quality arts & cultural experiences for LA’s 4 million residents & 26 million annual visitors. DCA supports artists & cultural projects through the following Divisions: The Grants Administration Division awards grants to over 270 LA-based artists & cultural organizations. The Public Art Division funds the creation & maintenance of all public art on City property or private commercial developments. The Community Arts Division manages 25 neighborhood arts & cultural centers (e.g., Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood); theaters (e.g., Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro); & historic sites (e.g., the Watts Towers; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House). DCA’s Marketing & Development Division markets the City's arts & cultural organizations & leads DCA’s development efforts with the corporate community.

DCA is spearheading a number of initiatives that directly address the LA2050 indicators. In Housing, DCA is working with the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation & Artspace, an organization dedicated to creating sustainably affordable space for artists & arts organizations, to build the Broadway Arts Center (BAC) - a mixed-used facility to include approximately 100 affordable live/work units, along with rehearsal & performance space. The BAC will be part of the Broadway Cultural Quarter, anticipated to include a downtown campus for CalArts’ MFA Theater program, creative industry incubator space, and upper-floor offices for creative businesses and startups.

The Watts Our Town initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, brings together community members and stakeholders to design an artistic “green” pathway connecting the 103rd Street Metro Station to the Watts Towers. Environmental Quality is promoted by replacing existing concrete walkways with grass and trees, and Social Connectedness is encouraged by repurposing a historic train station into a visitors center and gallery.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Media Literacy Program currently serves nearly 1600 high school students annually. The program includes film screenings and group discussions, along with visits from filmmakers and industry professionals. It is designed to help students improve analytical skills to encourage thoughtful interaction with film. In addition, the Academy is building the world’s largest movie museum - the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures - next to the LACMA campus. Providing students with access to this museum and to LACMA, as well as expanding to programs, will be an integral part of LA Creates!

The LA Fund, recently launched “Arts Matter,” an unprecedented campaign to revitalize arts education in LAUSD. Developed to drive public awareness for the critical role of arts education in public schools, the campaign includes leading contemporary artists, including Barbara Kruger and John Baldessari, as well as LA entertainment, civic, and education leaders.


1 Submitted Idea

  • 2013 Grants Challenge

    LA Creates! Media Arts Learning Initiative

    Media arts are LA’s most significant global contribution to arts and culture and the region’s leading economic driver. In the LA2050 Report, Arts and Cultural Vitality is the only indicator out of eight found to significantly enhance quality of life, earning the Report’s highest ranking. Yet, while noted economist Ann Markusen calls LA “America’s Artist Super City,” LA’s young people lack the access and opportunity to enter the creative industries. This is especially true for people of color, who make up 91% of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD Fingertip Facts, 11/12).

    • The question: How do we ensure LA’s young people will develop creativity while gaining access to current & next-generation skills & tools?

    • The answer: LA Creates! Media Arts Learning Initiative.

    Media arts are particularly motivating to today’s digitally-connected youth. Media arts encompass art created with new media technologies, including digital moviemaking, computer graphics, computer animation, virtual art, interactive art, video games, & computer robotics. The core concept of LA Creates! is for students to develop technical & critical-thinking skills, integrating the arts into core subject areas, while unleashing creativity through media arts learning.

    LA Creates! was developed by a consortium (the Consortium) headed by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (the Academy); LAUSD; The LA Fund for Public Education (LA Fund); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); & California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). We will be expanding to include UCLA’s School of the Arts & Architecture; School of Theater, Film, & Television; Hammer Museum; & Film Independent. LA Creates! will use the Report’s most positive indicator, Arts & Cultural Vitality, to address its lowest, Education. As the Report posits, educational achievement impacts all other indicators, from Income & Employment to Housing, Health, & Social Connectedness.

    LA Creates! consists of three components:

    •A pilot Digital Moviemaking Program will build on the work of two LAUSD middle schools, Millikan in the San Fernando Valley & Bancroft in Hollywood, which already have existing film academies. The two primary instructors from these schools will work with the Consortium to initiate similar programs in two to three middle schools in underserved LA communities in Year II. In subsequent years of the five-year pilot, two or more schools will be added annually. Working with the film industry to obtain in-kind equipment donations, as well as to make some purchases, LA Creates! will equip each school with a media arts lab with the cameras & computers necessary to create films/videos.

    For LA Creates! elective course film teachers will work with generalist teachers of core subjects at each school, integrating the media arts to teach English, math, history, & the sciences. Students will learn how to tell personal & community stories, building Social Connectedness, another LA2050 indicator, while also strengthening competency in technical skills that will better prepare them to gain Employment, the second lowest ranked indicator.

    •The Academy, known throughout the world for its Oscars© ceremony, is expanding its Media Literacy Program to a new 14,000 sq. ft. facility in Hollywood that will, in Year I: (1) involve 10 local schools in after-school programs, and (2) serve as a training center for LAUSD film and generalist teachers involved in the LAUSD Digital Moviemaking Program.

    The Academy will involve its vast network of Academy members and industry professionals as guest teachers to inspire the students and help promote the program. The Academy will also work with the Consortium to develop a curriculum aimed at middle school students.

    Studios such as Sony Pictures, with which DCA has had a 10-year partnership, the “Sony Pictures Media Arts Program,” which teaches middle school students animation in five centers around the City, donates state of the art equipment regularly. Sony will be asked to make similar donations to LA Creates!, as will other industry leaders.

    •Finally, the goal of LA Creates! is to be integrated into a new LAUSD five-year strategic plan for arts education that is currently being developed by LAUSD’s Arts Education Branch with funding support from The LA Fund. After the initial five-year in-school pilot program is complete, if approved by LAUSD and the Board of Education, the program would be supported by LAUSD in the long-term, in coordination with the Academy's Media Literacy Program.

    LA should have the most far-reaching and thorough media arts education program in the U.S.; our mission is to create and implement a quality program that becomes an integral part of every LAUSD middle school student’s experience, inspiring students, teachers, and families.