Thanks to all who donated through the My LA2050 Ideas Archive match! We've reached our $10,000 limit. Any additional donations will not be doubled but will still support the incredible nonprofits, so keep spreading the love.

connect / 2019



Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by NAVEL

NAVEL invites communities and individuals from Los Angeles and around the world to connect meaningfully with one other through our free and low-cost public programming and events, our collaborative learning platform called ASSEMBLIES, or via our Collective Residency program, where we nurture and support people and ideas while they take root and begin to grow. We are seeking support in order to properly fund our core activities and programs, while ensuring they remain accessible and open to all.

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • California Carts
  • CalArts Center for Integrated Media
  • CalArts School of Dance
  • Culture Hub
  • LA Dance Project
  • Massive Science
  • Relevant

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

NAVEL began in 2014 when a group of friends initiated the renovation of a space in Downtown Los Angeles with the intention to explore new ways of being and working together. Our dream is to make NAVEL an equitable, collectively-run cultural space where thinking outside the norm and embracing differences is encouraged, fostered, and celebrated. A space where people from a range of backgrounds and skillsets feel welcome and motivated to develop radical ideas with revolutionary potential. Indeed, we are striving together to imagine new models for the world we would like to be a part of.

Since our rebirth as a non-profit in May 2018, we facilitated over 50 free or low-cost original programs open to the public. Our programs attracted over 10,000 guests. Some highlights included the Queer Biennial, Amiri Baraka’s Revolutionary Theater, Kandis Williams’ Eurydice, and Making Kin, a group exhibition with screening and talk by Donna Haraway, named one of 2018’s best international art programs by Artforum Magazine.

NAVEL also launched our Collective Residency with over 100 members from Los Angeles and the world — artists, curators, scientists, technologists, and writers like Jennifer Moon, Terrence Koh, Jia Giu, Hayden Dunham, Tom Leeser, gloria galvez, Analisa Teachworth, Nadja Oertelt, and Spenser Theberge.

And, in early 2019, we launched ASSEMBLIES, where learning happens together through the exchange of ideas, traditions, and experience.

We are extremely proud of our achievements thus far, but our ambitions have outgrown our current capacity, and we need additional funding to make our vision for a sustainable and equitable future a reality.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
  • Attendance at cultural events
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

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

  • Central LA
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your project make LA the best place to connect?

We seek funding for our ongoing core programs: Public Programming, ASSEMBLIES, and our Collective Residency.

Public Programming is an open invitation for all to experience our community’s emerging work, curated by NAVEL’s programming committee– a collectively-elected group charged with developing an annual season of original programs. Additional projects are sourced from an Open Proposal submission process and ongoing collaborations with partner organizations.

ASSEMBLIES is where learning happens together through the exchange of ideas, traditions, and experience. An ASSEMBLY is simply a group that forms around a theme, practice or experiment, proposed by anyone in the community. For 3 months, we provide space, support, and resources towards the completion of a final project, be it a presentation, performance, publication, or object, which we then publish via our digital content channels. Participation is absolutely free.

Our Collective Residency is where we nurture and support people and ideas while they take root and begin to grow. For a period of 1 to 2 years, over 100 local and international residents have access to our space, equipment, network, and support at no cost. In return, residents actively engage in shaping our mission and activities, diversifying the voices and perspectives represented at NAVEL.

b.) We support a community of multidisciplinary cultural workers, with a focus on those from historically marginalized communities — especially women, queer/trans/non-binary folx, and people of color. Any awarded funds would have an immediate impact on our ability to sustainably execute our core programs while ensuring they remain accessible.

c.) The 2019 Public Programming is set and runs from April to November. Our 2020 committee will be elected via an open call and begin to work in October 2019, with a season announcement set for January.

ASSEMBLIES runs on a quarterly schedule and is capped by our Quarterly Meeting, where current ASSEMBLIES present their findings and new ASSEMBLIES are proposed. Upcoming Quarterly Meetings are 6/2, 9/8, 12/15.

Our Collective Residency accepts new residents via an open call in April of each year. Our newest cohort of residents will begin in June 2019.

d.) In a city as sprawling as Los Angeles, where feelings of disconnection and loneliness overwhelm us all, NAVEL serves as a central site where all are welcome to connect with one another, in person, through culture.

By being collectively-run, we encourage the community to impact the direction that we are headed in, both by electing our programming committee and serving on the board of directors.

We encourage volunteerism and other non-monetary forms of exchange (work-trade, skill sharing, etc.) to find novel ways to redistribute resources with one another in equitable ways.

We believe NAVEL is a key partner in making Los Angeles the best place to CONNECT by 2050.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)

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

While we certainly will measure traditional metrics such as attendance at programs and events, number of residents, members, and volunteers, and demographic information on participants, audiences, employees, and board, there is a certain difficulty in measuring how connected we have helped others to feel via our project.

To measure this, we will employ a number of strategies including: designing a survey for audiences and participants to measure connectivity and community strength, analyzing programmatic crossover to see if audiences are branching from their primary community to experiment or learn from another community that is active in the space, and measuring the depth of our partnerships with other local organizations.

Ultimately, our goals are more aligned with a shift from thinking of “mile-wide, inch-deep” success, to “inch-wide, mile-deep” success, and we are actively engaged with finding new ways to measure the impact of our actions.