connect / 2015

Free concerts + community = change

Free concerts + community = change

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Grand Performances

GP believes that art can introduce us to the big issues of society and to each other – a vital role in a city as diverse as ours. For our milestone season, GP will present 50+ free cultural events including live performances and public conversations at our iconic Downtown L.A. venue plus community outreach programs serving more than 60,000 people from across the region. GP will connect audiences to artists and each other resulting in greater participation in L.A.’s cultural and civic life.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Voting rates by race
  • Attendance at cultural events
  • Number of public transit riders
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections (Dream Metric)
  • Attendance at public/open streets gatherings (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.

GP believes that access to the arts should be a right and not a privilege and that the arts play a critical role in healthy communities. Since 1987, a million Southern Californians have come to our concerts, discovered new artists and connected and engaged with those around them. In 2016, Grand Performances will:

1) CELEBRATE 30 YEARS GP will launch a celebratory 30th season of music, dance, film, theater and spoken word that addresses local, national and even international issues through the performing arts. These programs will be complemented by post-show discussions, community gatherings, and online forums to encourage active participation from the community. This will include the second year of “re:ARRANGED - Muslim Cultures Illuminated” a 22-month cultural exchange and artist residency project that expands the definition of Muslim culture for participating local artists, underserved youth, and the general public.

2) TAKE THE SHOW ON THE ROAD GP will test off-site programming collaborations through a deeper partnership with the Los Angeles City Public Library (LAPL). This will include a series of Poetry Writing and Performance workshops at three South L.A. branch libraries and a series of five viewing and discussion programs in East and North L.A. branch libraries around the “Latino Americans 500 Years of History” public programming initiative produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA).

3) INCREASE VOTER REGISTRATION AND VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT GP recognizes the need to develop a well-trained volunteer force that is deeply engaged with and actively involved in the organization - as “music docents” for the larger audience during our free concert series, or goodwill brand ambassadors at offsite events. GP will deepen current partnerships with community organizations to engage audiences around voter registration and volunteer engagement. Organizations like the African American Voter Registration and Education Project and other community-focused operations will be onsite at our performances and be complemented by a social media campaign.

4) SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS Many people ask us – if the shows are free, do the artists perform for free? Not only are talented local and international artists paid competitive fees, they are supported by a crew of seasoned theatre professionals and work with our Director of Programming to develop new work and create one-of-a-kind programs.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

GP will invest in a major audience survey tracking attendance figures, demographics, # of new audience members, growth of social media participation, and artist/audience reactions to programs along with the LA2050 CONNECT metrics identified. Surveys will be deployed onsite at events with the help of volunteers and through social media and e-newsletter. Metrics provided by our web server and social media outlets provide data on # of hits, time spent on the web site, pages viewed/shared and other essential evaluation information.

While data-driven measurements are crucial, it is often the personal anecdote or story that best relates the impact of our work in the community and these stories are gathered online and through participatory activities (a new StoryCorps style initiative) at live events. A successful project will meet or exceed the following goals:

Increase audience by 10% Increase social media followers by 25% Add 100 new volunteers Add 500 new voters

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support