Los Angeles County Approves New Arts Department

Los Angeles County will welcome its first full-fledged arts department this summer.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to transition its existing Arts Commission into a formal public agency.

“With these collaborations, the new Department could expand how arts and culture are engaged to deliver innovative, vital programming and services, create pathways to careers in the arts, and enhance and improve educational experiences and opportunities for youth and young adults,” according to the motion. That’s important because studies show a positive link between early art exposure and academic performance in students.

County Arts Commission Executive Director Kristin Sakoda said the department’s creation will be “a historic moment” for the region.

The existing Arts Commission was created in 1947 to help foster a robust arts community in L.A.’s 88 cities and 137 unincorporated neighborhoods. The Commission funds hundreds of art nonprofits and oversees the country’s largest arts internship program.

Most other large counties, including San Diego, Riverside, and Orange have similar art commissions. However, supervisors felt that L.A. was in a unique position because of the enormous role arts and entertainment have played in its history, economy, and culture. They asked a consultant to develop options for expanding and strengthening the body earlier this year.

Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl authored the measure. It received unanimous approval from the board.

The transition is expected no later than July 1



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