connect / 2020

Leimert Park Village Festival Series

Leimert Park Village Festival Series

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by International Eye LA

Leimert Park Village celebrates more African derived festival traditions than maybe any other community in the region. Mostly self-financed, these festivals have contributed to the vitality and reputation of Leimert Park as a resilient center of Black art and culture. This grant will curate an international festival series, and produce Los Angeles Carnival as the Series highlight. The Leimert Park Festival Series will be marketed to help brand Leimert Park as the destination of choice for art and culture from the African Diaspora.

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

  • South LA

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Black Arts Los Angeles (Moza Cooper) Juneteenth Heritage Festival
  • Ideal Chalk ( Gloria Ing and David London ) Leimert Park Chalk Walk Festival
  • Belize Caye Fest (Patric Barrow)

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

Patrick Barrow of Belize Caye Fest brings 30 years of production experience and deep reach into the Belizean and Central American communities.

Ken Gibson of Black History Month Festival brings promotion skills, social media and connection to the Caribbean community.

Windsor Valcinus, Producer of Haitian Heritage Festival, brings event planning and sponsorship development expertise.

Moza Cooper and Anthony Jolly of Juneteenth Heritage Festival bring strong international and entertainment connections and are seasoned producers as well.

Mychal Horn, producer of Playground, is a Millennial marketing specialist who works with various groups in the Village including ‘We Love Leimert’ and will add Millennial participation to the team.

What is the need you’re responding to?

Amplified creative activity and community building in Leimert Park have resulted in its re-discovery by the wider community. Exciting projects such as renovation of the Historic Vision Theater, a Metro Station and innovative projects like Destination Crenshaw have caught the eye of developers, creating a sense of shifting ground beneath the community. Stability and identity have always been tied to arts, festivals and events in the Village. For decades this has given the community a sense of ownership, fellowship and a way to maintain traditions. Businesses and festivals now feel under threat of displacement by encroaching developments and have no support systems. The time is now to build resilience by investing in the natural assets of the community. Festivals are a strong community asset. Curating them into a series will attract sponsors, create partnerships and transform this cultural asset into an economic one that also sustains the community’s essential character.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

This project is a continuation of our organization’s mission, working with the community to transform Leimert Park Village from blight to prosperity. In tandem with community leaders, International Eye has been deeply involved in advocacy and community building since 2010. Supported by California Arts Council, DCA and other funders, it has emerged as the strongest producer of outdoor programming in the Village. In 2014 Leimert Park leaders formed a revitalization Task Force and developed ‘Vision 2020.’ Within this Vision, International Eye LA has been supporting producers while also producing various grant-funded festivals and events, usually transforming desolate streets into exciting event venues. Curating LPV festivals into a Series is a natural outcome of our objectives and brings cohesion to everyone’s work. Our organization’s mission is to transform communities through arts, culture and humanities. This project embodies its mission and validates its very existence.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Leimert Park is a unique, culturally rich community of authentic black arts and culture. It embodies the African Diaspora from Africa to the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas. However, years of shifting demographics and blight resulted in a 2014 L. A. Times article partly characterizing the Village as ‘a ghost town of broken windows and empty storefronts.’ Leimert Park Vision 2020, the Vision Theater, a Metro Station and a profusion of festivals are revitalizing the Village. These celebrations anchor a community rooted in African derived cultures and traditions. Curating a Festival Series provides structure, marketability and a way to support, market and re-imagine Leimert Park Village as a safe and exciting destination.

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

Our vision for success includes:

  1. Curating and presenting Leimert Park Festival Series and producing LA Carnival between July, 2020 - July, 2021.
  2. Collaborating with 50% -75% of Leimert Park independent festival producers.
  3. Including youth participants in the organization and implementation of the Series.
  4. Establishing a formal entity such as a ‘Producers Alliance,’ to support independent festival producers in Leimert Park.
  5. Establishing a robust brand presence for the Festival Series, including online and traditional marketing, a robust website, an annual calendar and a community engagement strategy.

Quantitative outcome will be evaluated by documenting if there has been increased festival attendance, new collaborations, increased production capacity, expanded marketing reach, economic growth.

Qualitative evaluation will be measured by anecdotal responses of any change in levels of enjoyment, personal impressions of the events and whether attendees will recommend friends or return to festivals in the series. Evaluation will also include whether strategies for long term development are being developed or considered.

Evaluation tools will include survey forms, anecdotal responses, headcounts and logging number of repeat visitors throughout the Series.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Public arts and cultural events
  • Immigrant integration
  • Resilient communities

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT
  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to PLAY
  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation