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play / 2016

The Ron Finley Project presents Da FUNction - A Community Fun Fest

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by The Ron Finley Project

Da FUNction is a one day, free event that brings members from LA’s diverse communities together for one purpose - to have fun and play with a smorgasbord of activities in an otherwise unused space.

Please describe your project proposal.

An annual community fun-fest held at a public venue in South LA, Da FUNction offers residents and the larger LA community a day of play with a diverse menu of activities ranging from drumming, weaving, ceramics, woodworking, gardening, yoga and more. Da FUNction serves to transform unused, undervalued public spaces into beautiful places full of life, culture & art.

Which of the play metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities
  • Perceived safety

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

  • South LA

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to play?

Da FUNction at Vermont Square is an interactive event where attendees are completely immersed in art and community from the moment they arrive. Whether they are getting their hands dirty in the garden; learning and practicing yoga; chilling out in a hammock forest; or spinning a pottery wheel for the first time, attendees get to see, be and create art with some of LA’s most well known artists. Da FUNction employs cultural expression and cultural sharing as tools for placemaking, creating a space where the diverse flavors of Los Angeles integrate, coming together to create together. Da FUNction shows people how to see their city differently - how to see the value in undervalued and neglected communities, how to reclaim the commons and in so doing, it shows them how to care for the commons and care for each other. Using gardening as our tool of choice, Da FUNction flips the script on color, class and the barriers that segregate Los Angeles residents both physically and mentally.

Da FUNction program was born from Ron Finley’s future HQ project, which intends to transform the grounds of an unused and undervalued public space into a garden/community/cultural center designed to grow food, people and rebuild the surrounding inner-city ecosystem. Da FUNction is the popup version of HQ, offering attendees a number of interactive activities designed to immerse the public in a public space built from art, love and community.

Trading your Apple phone for an apple tree is an excellent way to fight stress and attention fatigue that is due to an overdose of electronic technology and disconnect from nature. The sights, smells, and sounds of being outside and in a garden promote relaxation and reduce stress. In addition to creating more green spaces, which are proven to have a positive impact on tackling air pollution, Da FUNction can also deliver a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits to make cities more attractive and healthier places to be.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Work will be evaluated on a number of levels. These include:


Attendees / artists, performers, vendors, etc.

Support: Number of behind the scenes individuals (external to RFP) working to produce Da FUNction such as city officials working with us (vs for us) in-kind donations, volunteers, etc.


Press coverage, engagement metrics on social media channels (i.e. shares, views, posts).

Ultimately, we would like to export Da FUNction to other places outside of South LA. Therefore the trajectory of the program is to scale it up in order to scale it out. As such, evaluating the success of Da FUNction in the long term will deal with building notoriety at the national level in order to build a demand for Da FUNction (i.e. make people want to bring Da FUNction to their neighborhood).

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

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research