Arts & Cultural Vitality / 2013
Everything Everywhere: LA 2050
OUR IDEA: Los Angeles is exploding with diverse creative talent and sites for cultural production and we believe that anything is possible here. Furthermore we believe that the most interesting ideas emerge from outside our traditional educational and cultural institutions. Our project Everything, Everywhere helps to explore the city’s full creative potential by providing artists and art organizers with the logistical and organizational support to create temporary or semi-permanent arts spaces in ten communities across greater Los Angeles. By helping artists and communities redefine and experiment with sites of cultural production we can question how we want culture to look and function in our city. Our goal for 2050 is to develop visionary models of local cultural production in a diverse set of communities. Together let’s create the cultural spaces and grassroots organizers of tomorrow.
Everything, Everywhere is based on three basic principles:
• Every Angelino has the power to create and re-imagine culture in our city
• Artists can act as a catalyst for interaction within a community
• Any location has the potential to be transformed into a site of creative use and civic discourse
HOW WE WILL DO IT:
1. Selective application process
To implement Everything, Everywhere first Machine Project will publicize an open call for applications. We will accept applications from artists, collectives, community leaders, and small organizations throughout Los Angeles. Successful applicants will propose visionary activity that reflects their community. We expect a wide range of proposals from one-day outdoor tours, to temporarily transforming unused public spaces for cultural use, to converting private space into public forums, to establishing a more permanent artist-run center.
2. Intensive project training and development
Our process will draw from both our informal grassroots education and institutional collaboration models. We will select a cohort of ten applicants, with special care to capture a wide range of neighborhoods. This cohort will enter a three-month training program to learn how to conceptualize, create, and manage their projects. The program will be comprised of lectures, site visits, classes, and workshops. We will assemble a dedicated team to work directly with each cohort member to identify potential locations/venues, build support within their home neighborhoods, produce and document their programming. Machine Project will remain involved in each project through frequent check-ins and consultation.
HOW IT WILL IMPACT ARTS AND CULTURAL VITALITY:
Everything, Everywhere will provide visionary ways for the public to experience art throughout Los Angeles County. Because each project will evolve out of a different community we have the potential to discover hundreds of innovative ways to produce and experience culture.
Everything, Everywhere will empower the next generation of artists to create, thrive, and grow in every neighborhood of Los Angeles. By creating connected arts programming across greater Los Angeles we will develop an infrastructure of sustainable art creation and a network of local artists and audiences. By 2050, we envision hundreds of community-led projects and spaces, each bringing a uniquely local, but highly visible program to their neighborhoods. The artists and audiences will inspire as well as be inspired by their home.
Everything, Everywhere will sidestep cultural production and participation barriers (high cost, transportation, intimidating arts intuitions) by bringing alternative, participation-driven arts spaces to every neighborhood through the innovation of their own local artists. We believe that cultural vitality depends on creating opportunity, support and space for artists to experiment. Furthermore, we believe that artists should be actively involved in re-imagining how these spaces are built and how culture is experienced.
What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?
Since 2003, Machine Project has built a national reputation for nurturing innovative, experimental modes of arts engagement by framing challenging arts and educational opportunities as fun, approachable, and occasionally bizarre community events. And together all of our interrelated activities create active participants in culture where everyone sees themselves as producers and every place as a site for cultural exchange. Our most important achievements to date include:
• Hosted over 1,000 free events on everything from lectures on the sex life of sea slugs, butter-making aerobics, poetry readings, and mind-reading workshops.
• Changed how museums relate to their publics. In the past 4 years we have partnered with major cultural institutions (LACMA, Hammer Museum, Walker Art Center) to develop and execute a replicable model for how artists and small organizations can work with larger institutions to break down participation barriers.
• Supported the creation of new work by hundreds of artists. This includes direct financial support, often presenting their first solo show or first museum show and providing professional video documentation of their work.
Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.
At its core Everything, Everywhere creates a collaborative framework for visionary artists and groups to partner with other artists, organizations and communities. Our primary partners will be the ten cohort members, however there are endless possible collaborations to be discovered once each project is underway.
Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?
Community outreach is critical to this endeavor. We will evaluate the community participation, in terms of attendance and interaction, of each project to determine the neighborhood and cultural impact. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation will be integrated into each project as it is developed. Through regular surveys and interviews, we will evaluate our own implementation and process with hopes towards improvement and replication.
More broadly, we believe this project is built for success because the programming originates from the community itself – through local artists. Therefore we will evaluate Everything, Everywhere by examining the responsiveness and relevance of the ten projects to each community. Everything, Everywhere will be successful if the cohorts find other ways to collaborate with artists and neighbors and if the audiences will be inspired to create their own projects and sites. Ultimately the greatest success of this project will be the visionary thinking and re-imagining of the place and function of cultural space. This inquiry will advance the form and develop new modes of cultural production and experience. By 2050, the seeds planted in these ten neighborhoods will have inspired the radical exponential growth of cultural activity.
How will your project benefit Los Angeles?
Everything, Everywhere will benefit Los Angeles by:
• Creating replicable examples of community initiated and supported projects that inspire creativity, participation and experimentation citywide. • Cultivating, strengthening and maintaining Los Angeles’s high percentage of working artists and arts professionals. • Providing access and exposure to a diverse range of grassroots cultural production.
What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?
In 2050, artists will be thriving, supported by their community and by a more flexible, responsive civic infrastructure. Community members will collaborate on the creation of innovative artworks and projects outside of established commercial, academic, and cultural institutions. And every person – both artist and audience member – will be empowered to develop their creative potential. Success in 2050 can be examined on artist, participant and organizational level:
• Artist support: Artists receive financial support for experimentation through residencies and commissions funded by community and civic organizations that are co-created by the artists they serve.
• Fewer barriers to participation: Engaging in the arts will no longer be thought of as a once-a-year field trip to the intimidating downtown museum, but instead a daily, local, participatory event.
• Local-Global organizational action: A densely connected web of local creative activity will empower other artists and communities to create their own programming, arts spaces and support models. These models and ideas can then move through the world, adapted by other organizations and communities.
Taken together these three levels of success will dramatically enhance human development. Los Angeles is at the forefront of cultural activity, but in order to truly live up to its full creative potential we need to build an infrastructure of locally driven arts participation. Then we can imagine and ultimately realize a place where it is a civic responsibility to support the arts and that the arts are integrated into everyone’s daily life.