play / 2018
Red Hen Press Community Center for the Arts
Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.
In 2017, Red Hen Press moved into a permanent home in Pasadena with enough space to allow us to expand our community programming significantly. Red Hen will transform this building into an artistic hub for the surrounding community, equipping the stage with lighting and sound equipment for local artist performances; furnishing the community space with computers, desks, chairs, and instruments for workshops; and providing a space for underserved youth to practice the arts.
Which of the play metrics will your activation impact?
- Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play
- Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs
Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?
- LA is the best place to CREATE
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- San Gabriel Valley
How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?
- Trainings and/or in-person engagements
- Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
- Employment opportunities for local artists
Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to play?
Through the LA2050 Activation Challenge, Red Hen Press will make capital purchases in preparation for the launch of the Hen House Workshop Series in its new community arts center. The workshop series will provide low-income youth with free arts education in the fields of literature, music, and dance, as well as offer writing master classes taught by renowned Los Angeles poets and writers.
Funds will support the purchase of equipment, including laptops, desks, chairs, instruments, music stands, audience seating, sound system equipment, lights, and other staging equipment. Red Hen has much of the infrastructure for this project already in place, including a performance and workshop space and a rotating team of about 20 volunteers to perform programming and administrative duties. The press also has a strong relationship with local artists who will be hired to instruct workshops.
The purchase of basic workstations will allow Red Hen Press to host 20 free one-hour youth arts workshops per category (writing, music, and dance) for a total of 60 workshops annually. The press will conduct 60 workshops; serve 1,000 elementary, middle, and high school students; and employ 6 teaching artists. Through the program, students will be encouraged not only to emulate great art, but create and share original works, thus building improved artistic skills, deepening appreciation for the diverse landscape of art, and increasing confidence in peer-to-peer sharing and public presentation. The series will also provide low-income students a safe space to spend time after school.
Additionally, Red Hen will program a writing master class workshop series for adults. Workshops will be offered in a range of prices and durations (one-off workshops and multi-week series) to increase accessibility for aspiring writers. The press anticipates hosting 30 master class workshops annually, to be instructed by lauded Los Angeles poets and writers.
The purchase of staging equipment and audience seating will also enable Red Hen Press to host its own events. Currently, the press primarily programs literary events at arts venues, museums, art galleries, and theaters throughout Los Angeles, and such events often incur space rental costs. By programming literary events at our own performance space, the press will eliminate venue rental costs, allowing for free entry for audience members and higher honoraria for performing artists. Support for this project will also support Red Hen’s efforts to increase attendance from low-income populations by providing free tickets to students, their families, and faculty at Title I schools in Los Angeles.
How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to play
As Red Hen Press expands its programming, we will need our local community to step up and aid us in carrying out our mission. We will tap into our local community of artists for instructors for our new workshop series. We will reach out to local arts venues, educational institutions, and collectives to seek performers to populate our events. We will recruit volunteers from local colleges and universities to help plan and promote our new programs and services.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.
Success for Red Hen’s new programming will be defined by renovation goals met, number of workshops and events planned, attendance numbers at events and workshops, and percentage of capacity at each event.
Renovation will be considered a success when the performance space is equipped with lighting, sound, and staging equipment; when tables and chairs are purchased for workshops; and when the building’s facade, currently a solid cinder block wall, is adorned with large windows.
Red Hen Press aims to host 15 events and 60 workshops annually, filled to 90% capacity each, and anticipates 1,500 attendees over the course of the year. This data will be collected from event reports written by press staff and survey questionnaires filled out by event attendees. Surveys also provide the press qualitative feedback about attendees’ perceptions of an event’s success. These measures allow us to continue to create and improve upon spaces where ideas can be shared among members of the literary community.
Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?
Our dream is to build a literary center in Los Angeles that will rival the other four literary centers in the country: Poets House in New York City, the Poetry Center in Tucson, the Loft in Minneapolis, and the prime literary space in the country, the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. Funding from the LA2050 Activation Challenge will make this dream a reality. In five years, our programming will have expanded significantly. The press would be hosting events or workshops three times a week; during the day, the event space would be used as a writing space for authors who wish to work collaboratively with other creatives; our youth outreach programs would be expanded to include after-school programs in addition to our current in-school programs; we would be able to increase staff compensation to match industry standard. The press is at a turning point in its history. This activation is what Red Hen Press needs to take the next leap forward and make Los Angeles a better place to create, connect, and learn.