Thank you to the hundreds of residents who participated in community forums across LA County this past spring to impact the future of arts education. Your input makes a difference!
Over the past two decades, the local arts education landscape has shifted. Today, nearly 90% of public K-12 public schools in LA County offer some arts instruction to some students, some of the time. The notion that "schools don't teach the arts" is no longer true. What is true, is that youth of color, youth from low-income households, and English language learners not only receive less arts instruction in schools, they also receive lower quality arts instruction than their peers. Increasing access to the arts—and all of the cognitive and socio-emotional benefits they offer—means reaching youth people wherever they might be—in schools, in parks, in the community, or in the juvenile justice system, to name a few.
To that end, in Spring 2018, the LA County Board of Supervisors directed the LA County Department of Arts and Culture (Arts and Culture) to update the 2002 Arts for All: LA County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education in order to reflect the current priorities and educational landscape of LA County.
During spring and summer of this year, Arts and Culture solicited input from community members in ten forums that took place in neighborhoods that spanned the geographic breadth of the County. Through dialogue and visual arts activities, residents in areas as disparate as Santa Monica, Long Beach, Lancaster, and Pomona. explored key questions across four distinct focus areas: In-School Arts Education, Creative Career Pathways for Youth, Community-Based Arts Education, and County Government Programs and Services.
Data from these forums was combined with input collected at separate convenings of targeted stakeholder groups, which include representatives from County government, philanthropy, organizations working in justice reform, in the creative economy, and members of the Arts Ed Collective Youth Advisory Council.
Throughout the summer, an advisory group of diverse LA County arts education leaders, reviewed all data collected and put forward strategies to inform the updated Regional Plan. Later this fall, the plan will be presented to the LA County Board of Supervisors for adoption. The goal is that the new Regional Plan will serve as a roadmap for the field to directly address the current inequities in education and serve all youth in LA County.
Stay tuned for more updates, and check out our gallery of photos from the forums!