The Objective

The Arts Education Innovation Lab originated to ensure that every child in LA County engages in the arts all year, every year because the arts are fundamental to human growth and development.

Background

In 2016, the LA County Arts Education Collective began a county-wide survey of arts education in public schools. This report, the Arts Education Profile, provides key findings about arts education in LA County:

  • While arts education is available to students at every school in the county, the quality of that education varies widely.
  • The students who most often receive the least arts education are also most often children of color, eligible for reduced/free meal plans (a proxy for poverty).

The Arts Education Innovation Lab was launched to not only address these issues, but to bring about a systemic, scalable change in the arts education model at work in LA County. Starting in January 2017, arts and education leaders met to learn from other industries, brainstorm solutions and test their hypotheses in prototypes around the county.

The Theory of Change

The goals and methods of the Innovation Lab were developed in collaboration with the Presencing Institute, an awareness-based action-research community for profound individual and institutional renewal. Over the past two decades, they have developed a method for how individuals, teams, organization and large systems can create large-scale change. With the help of the Presencing Institute, Lab participants collaboratively developed a theory of change and shared vision.   

Shared Vision

Every young person in LA County 
engages in the arts 
all year 
every year 
because the arts are fundamental 
to human growth and development.

The Shared Vision evolved further from input from the general public as well as specific stakeholder groups through community meetings held in summer 2019 and is foundational for Arts for All Children, Youth and Families: Los Angeles County’s New Regional Blueprint for Arts Education, adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in October 2020.

Prototypes

Like most labs, what starts as a hypotheses often forms the basis for further experimentation. The Arts Education Innovation Lab is no different. Beginning in January, 2017 Lab participants tested Innovation lab solutions at sites around LA County. These experiments have been deemed Prototypes, and they range from a Mobile Graffiti Wall that is designed to bring communities, educators and students together to a virtual reality experience that aims to put students in the shoes of a Broadway performer.

Resources


Fifteen prototypes developed by Lab participants.

An expanding list of resources from the various Innovation Lab events and meet-ups. Want to learn more about what has been done and what is still coming for the Lab? Find it here.

Theory U-based leadership development intensive for arts education leaders of all levels, offered in 2019 and 2020.