Board of Supervisors Votes Unanimously to Create First Los Angeles County Arts Department

Arts matter. $190 Billion from the Creative Economy makes a difference. Today we created the first Los Angeles County Arts Department

Posted by Mark Ridley-Thomas on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create the first Los Angeles County Arts Department, the office of Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas announced Tuesday.

Co-authored by Ridley-Thomas and Board Chair Sheila Kuehl, the motion had broad support from arts funders, creators and institutions, according to the release.

“With a new arts department, we can further elevate the impact of the arts on our community, culture, and economy,” Ridley-Thomas said in a statement. “The importance of the creative industries cannot be overstated, particularly in Los Angeles. Creativity is one of our most essential economic assets.”

Industries within the region’s creative economy generated a total creative output of $190 billion in 2015, according to the 2017 Otis Report on the Creative Economy. The creative economy also employed 759,000 people, which accounted for about 15 percent of all private wage and salary workers in the region, the announcement stated.

“Los Angeles County contains an unparalleled wealth of arts and culture,” Kuehl said in a statement. “It makes sense that we establish a County department to support arts and culture. With this motion, we will provide the capacity for a robust department that can strengthen the arts and expand our commitment to cultural equity and inclusion.”

“This is a historic moment in the arts for this region,” said LA County Arts Commission Executive Director Kristin Sakoda in a statement. The LA County Arts Commission was established in 1947 and has grown to support hundreds of nonprofits, arts programming in public schools and the Arts Internship and Civic Art programs. “It is world-class and community-based and there is still more to come!”

“A County Department can make a deep impact in providing workforce training and advancing cultural equity and inclusion efforts,” stated Stacy Lieberman, deputy director of The Broad.

The new department will retain the Arts Commission as an advisory body and will begin its transition by July 1, according to the release.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.