2020 Oshogatsu event at the Japanese American National Museum, one of 227 local arts organizations that have received grants from the L.A. County Department of Arts and Culture. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

To support local arts nonprofits and the communities they serve, the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture (https://www.lacountyarts.org/) on July 21 announced $4.518 million in grant awards through its Organizational Grant Program (OGP).

The awards provide two-year grants for 227 organizations.

OGP is Los Angeles County’s longest-running arts grant program, providing funding for the diverse ecosystem of arts nonprofits that range in size, budget, and discipline — from arts education, to theater, music, and dance, to visual, media, and literary arts. This cycle’s grantees are located and provide services across the county, and many have deep and culturally rooted ties in their communities.

The program also addresses systemic inequity in arts funding. Over 80% of grantees have budgets under $1 million. These small and micro budget organizations are often chronically underfunded and include those that reflect and serve communities of color, historically marginalized, and rural communities.

Awards range from $900 to $112,000 this year, depending on the needs and size of the organization. The funds can be used to support any number of current critical needs, from staffing and organizational infrastructure to public-facing programming. OGP grantees can also access the Department of Arts and Culture’s slate of professional development opportunities — programs designed in house, as well as scholarships for trainings and conferences.

“The Organizational Grant Program has supported Los Angeles County’s arts nonprofits since the 1990s, and today, the nonprofit sector that OGP helped build is a crucial part of the larger L.A. County arts and culture infrastructure and creative economy,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell. “These grants sustain our arts organizations in the short term, during a very challenging time. But they have a long-term effect too, strengthening our arts and culture ecosystem that, when it is robust and inclusive, brings resources to hardly reached communities and direct access to quality arts activities and programming.”

“We know that arts and culture resources positively impact health and well-being, economic opportunity, neighborhood resiliency, civic engagement, and youth development,” said Kristin Sakoda, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. “Investing in the arts is investing in our communities, and the Organizational Grant Program is a key delivery mechanism for these high-return investments — made even more important as the arts sector builds toward recovery from the pandemic and a more equitable and sustainable future.

“In addition to an array of arts disciplines and cultural venues, geographies, and budget sizes, our OGP grantees represent, reflect, and steward L.A. County’s diverse artists, art forms, cultural heritage, and perspectives. I am also thrilled that 14% of the grantees are first-time recipients! The program’s effectiveness for increasing cultural equity and inclusion cannot be underestimated.”

“The thing I am most proud of is OGP’s equitable reach. It supports hundreds of organizations countywide — from small budget grassroots organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $20,000 to major cultural institutions, and everyone in between,” said Eric Eisenberg, president of the Arts Commission, the arts advisory body to the Board of Supervisors. “Grantees have offices or community and cultural spaces throughout the 88 cities in L.A. County, and throughout all five supervisorial districts. With that kind of range, we’re able to increase the vitality of the entire local arts landscape.”

Testimonials from OGP Grantees

“We are incredibly grateful for L.A. County’s Department of Arts and Culture’s support of our poetry workshops and youth outreach programs in the schools and the streets of Los Angeles, especially now in this dynamic transformational time as we secure a site for our future Street Poets Center for Community, Culture & Wellness and put down more permanent roots here in the city we’ve served for the past 25 years.” — Chris Henrikson, founder and executive director, Street Poets

“This grant will provide free, online, expressive arts sessions and training program scholarships. During this time of escalating need, our healing-centered programming is critical for under-resourced communities, students, and professionals living and working throughout Los Angeles County.” — Ping Ho, MA, MPH, founder and director, UCLArts & Healing

“The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture’s Organizational Grant Program allows us to create virtual and in-person public programs that inspire, educate, and help promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. This grant helps the public stay connected to the broader Japanese American experience and support our mission. Through our Natsumatsuri and Oshogatsu family festivals, as well as workshops that dive deep into our exhibitions and community partnerships, we empower the public to share the hard-fought lessons accrued from this history, create a more just Ameica, and a better world.” — Ann Burroughs, president and CEO, Japanese American National Museum

“The last two years have taught us that the only way we will overcome future crises is by working together. This is a pivotal time to support nonprofits and the community networks they help build, nurture, and maintain. The Organizational Grant Program will support the work of The GR818ERS, a collective of artists, athletes, and activists using their knowledge and expertise to empower youth and uplift communities. Our headquarters, the UNITE Cultural Center, will serve as a cultural hub to house program efforts including afterschool programs, workshops, community events, and an internship program aimed at building the creative workforce. Through the support of the Department of Arts and Culture, AWOKE aims to sustain the nurturing social ecosystem grounded in culture, creativity, and service that has been fostered through program efforts.” — Pierre Ivan Arreola, executive director, AWOKE and Co-Founder, The GR818ERS

“The Museum of Latin American Art is honored to receive funding from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture for its continued support for MOLAA’s cultural and educational programming. Our responsibility to represent and provide a safe space for all of our cultural complexity to be shared, understood, and appreciated by a wider public is intrinsic to uphold our institutional mission and the greater benefit of our community.” — Lourdes I. Ramos, Ph. D., president and CEO, Museum of Latin American Art

“Thank you to L.A. County Department of Arts and Culture for their support of Film Independent. This grant will help us celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Artist Development programs, which all began with the Project Involve programs’ commitment to supporting emerging filmmakers from communities underrepresented in film. We are so grateful to L.A. County for their many years of support in our ongoing fight to build a more inclusive and equitable industry.” — Kate Walker D’Angelo, senior director of development, Film Independent

In addition to JANM, grant recipients in the AAPI community include Daroo Korean Performing Arts and Culture, Filipino Ameican Symphony Orchestra, Great Leap Inc., Japanese Culture and Traditions Inc. (Downey), L.A. Daiku Association Inc., and TaikoProject.

See the full list here: https://www.lacountyarts.org/sites/default/files/2223ogp-grantees.pdf

OGP Background and Review Process

Since 1947, the Department of Arts and Culture (formerly the L.A. County Arts Commission) has provided funding for L.A. County arts organizations to expand community access to the arts. The OGP program is now the flagship public sector organizational grant program for the region. In addition to direct funding, OGP grantees receive professional development and training opportunities, spanning from workshops addressing cultural and racial equity to grant writing and human resources.

Of the 227 2022-23 OGP grantees — located in 37 of the county’s 88 municipalities — 14% percent are receiving this funding for the first time.

Applications for the OGP program were reviewed and scored by 75 diverse expert panelists from the Los Angeles region’s robust community of cultural workers, artists, curators, nonprofit arts administrators, arts funders, and arts educators. Award recommendations were reviewed by the Arts Commission, the arts advisory body that serves the Board of Supervisors, and then approved by the board.

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