create / 2015

LA Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by T4T.org

Let’s create LA LandfillHarmonics inspired by Parqaguay’s LandfillHarmonics. LAUSD has among the highest concentration of low-income students in the state, with more than 80% living at or below the poverty line. This translates into nearly 400 high-poverty campuses where all students automatically qualify for subsidized lunches. There is little room in the school budget for the arts. Where is music for these children? We want to teach them to make music out of found objects.


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

  • Parks, community centers and Title 1 Schools in LA County.

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

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Bring arts and music to underserved communities.

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

  • Arts establishments per capita
  • Recruiting and retention rates for local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)

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

We will offer students with no access to music education a way to engage, to express, and to share their stories through music. We will inspire creative and critical thinking as we undertake the task of learning to create instruments out of waste streams. We will advance the notion of environmental stewardship in a generation of Los Angeles children. And, we will bring the Maestro Favio Chavez or Maestro Szaran from Paraguay to Los Angeles to speak to the group making instruments and inform our approach to creating the Orchestra. In doing this we honor the original work of Maestro Favio Chavez and we bring a community of Angelenos to a world of music seemingly out of reach. This Orchestra will perform at local venues, schools, community centers, and parks offering as many communities an opportunity to experience the creativity and joy of the LA LandFillHarmonic’s Youth. Our Orchestra will reflect the vast cultural and ethnic diversity of Los Angeles in that the group will learn to play some classical music and will be invited to enhance that music with their own cultural interpretation.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

The music instructors and the general public who will attend the free concerts offered by this Orchestra in the fall of 2016 will evaluate our final outcome through feedback forms offered at the concerts. The process itself will be evaluated by pre-then-post surveys undertaken by the children involved in the making of instruments and the playing of those instruments once they are made.

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.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research