July 31, 2015

Traditional dancers are part of the procession during LA Commons' Day of the Ancestors: Festival of the Masks in 2012.

Earlier this month, the National Endowment for the Arts announced a $200,000 Our Town grant to the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs to support Promise Zone Arts, a cultural asset mapping program with site-specific cultural events that address Los Angeles Promise Zone** goals: improved educational opportunities, economic development, neighborhood safety, and livability.  As a Promise Zone Arts partner, ACTA is eager to begin working with the City of LA’s Department of Cultural Affairs, LA Commons, and the Youth Policy Institute to bring our participatory cultural asset mapping methodology to LA’s Promise Zone.  Working with these partners that we’ve known and respected for years, we are excited to delve deeper into our common goals of engaging the cultural treasures of LA to affect productive changes in comprehensive community development strategies.

Promise Zone Arts will use cultural mapping and community engagement to identify cultural assets, including folk and traditional artists, that contribute to the area’s rich cultural fabric.  A cultural treasures directory will inspire use of assets mapped to advance cultural vitality.  Neighborhood sharing events will feature arts interventions, including public art, performing arts programming, multimedia installations, and traditional folk arts that showcase the area’s diverse cultural treasures and encourage dialogue.

Promise Zone Arts will quantify the value of traditional and culturally informed contemporary art to increase livability within the Promise Zone, develop agency for underserved communities, and create policy recommendations that utilize cultural practice to address educational, economic, social, and other community needs.

For more information about ACTA’s participatory cultural asset mapping methodology, please visit our website.  For more information about Promise Zone Arts, contact ACTA’s Southern California staff: Quetzal Flores, Program Manager (quetzal@actaonline.org) or Citlalli Chavez, Project Coordinator (citlalli@actaonline.org).

** A 2014 Federal designation, the Los Angeles Promise Zone consists of diverse, highly dense, and underserved communities in Hollywood, East Hollywood, MacArthur Park, Pico‐Union, and Koreatown.