At Tuesdays Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board authorized the Department of Arts and Culture to accept a $1.75 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which will be used to implement a Civic Artist Development Initiative, the Board also authorized the Director of the department to accept any future grant awards under $250,000 without Board sporoval.

Civic Art, including architecture, monuments, urban design, and murals, has great power to elevate the experience of those visiting public spaces as well as transform cultural landscapes. The LA County Department of Arts and Culture’s Civic Art Program provides leadership in the development of high-quality civic spaces by integrating artists into the planning and design process at the earliest possible opportunities, encouraging innovative approaches to civic art, and providing access to artistic experiences of the highest caliber for the residents of LA County. Working with leading artists, emerging public artists, County departments, and communities, Civic Art creates artwork, design, public engagement activities, exhibitions, temporary art, and event-based programming for new and renovated facilities throughout LA County. Civic Art has also commissioned work for capital projects for public libraries, parks, pools, community centers, jails, and health centers.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three year, $1.75 million grant to the Department of Arts and Culture for the Civic Artist Development Initiative, which will increase diversity, equity, and inclusion of the artists selected for civic art projects across the County. The initiative will address barriers to entry in the civic art field for underrepresented artists including artists of color, artists with disabilities, indigenous artists, LGBTQ+ artists, self-taught artists, artists of nontraditional mediums and emerging artists. The new initiative will further align the Civic Art division with LA County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative. The grant will support the implementation of a new LA County Civic Artist Registry, an artist fellowship, expansion of professional development opportunities for artists, and small-scale project commissions designed to promote the advancement of underrepresented artists.

The motion also authorizes the Director of the Department of Arts and Culture, Kristin Sakoda, to accept future grant awards under $250,000, which will streamline the processing of these types of rewards.