The staff and volunteers serving arts and cultural organizations in Los Angeles County are less diverse than the general population, according to one of three related studies released Tuesday.
The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture highlighted the results of three reports related to diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts:
— 2019 LA County Arts and Culture Workforce Demographics Study;
— From Words to Action: Implementation of the Organizational Grant Program’s New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Requirement; and
— What People Talk about When They Talk About the Arts.
The demographics study, conducted by Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research, found that the county’s cultural workforce is 59% non-Hispanic white, though workers under the age of 34 tend to be more racially and ethnically diverse.
Researchers found that women comprise 63% of the arts and culture workforce.
The DEI study found that grant applicants to the county department define diversity in various ways. Some focus on the diverse makeup of their boards, staff, or artist communities, while others focus on diversity in the communities they serve.
The department’s Research and Evaluation Division offered recommendations in that report for how arts organizations can strengthen their commitment to DEI.
A primary focus of the new department is to ensure that every county resident has access to the arts. The final report relies on interviews with deeply committed supporters of the arts from across the county to identify themes that speak to why people participate in the arts.
The report found that people who are highly engaged with the arts do not always call or think about those experiences as “art experiences.” People value art they can experience together in shared public spaces and see the benefits as material and tangible, as well as emotional and spiritual.
The full reports can be found at: www.lacountyarts.org/learning/research-evaluation/research-lab .
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