create / 2020

License to Open LA (LOLA)

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by The LEAGUE of EXPERIENTIAL & IMMERSIVE ARTISTS (LEIA)

LOLA has 3 major parts: Online portal & town hall event series enabling creators to produce within currently offered regulations, & enticing international brands to come here; Data-driven resource from that portal, inducing policy changes where feasible for an easily accessed, city-approved resource to propose & permit non-traditional events; and programming at the world’s foremost annual immersive creator’s summit, sharing data with international leaders in immersive design to bring work to history’s largest entertainment capital: Los Angeles

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

  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • The HERE Institute; HERE Festival & Summit
  • The City of LA’s Department of Cultural Affairs is a co-sponsor
  • Think Tank Gallery and Tanner Blackman are consultants and programming directors

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

The HERE Institute champions immersive & experiential arts through media platforms, events, & creative programming. The HERE Summit & Festival is a global hub for immersive art, design, and performance. Their publication, No Proscenium, covers immersive arts and entertainment worldwide.

The Department of Cultural Affairs is a co-sponsor of LOLA. DCA will provide outreach to publicize the project (including workshops, panels, & discussions) & contribute expertise for web resource & activations.

Think Tank Gallery is an award-winning art collective, creative solutions, and production company established in DTLA in 2010. They have a conceptual space in Little Tokyo & create content that has put them alongside institutions like the Guggenheim Museum on “Most Instagrammable Arts Spaces” lists

What is the need you’re responding to?

Since 2017, it has been difficult to mount legally-permitted, short-term events in the city of Los Angeles. There is no way to permit temporary indoor events, especially in under-utilized urban spaces, and the City’s proposed solutions do not quite address issues of cost and access. After the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, what was difficult may soon become impossible.

Without a process to permit temporary events, work is driven to neighboring cities that allow temporary indoor events or, worse, underground. The Superbowl (2022), World Cup (2026) and Olympic Games (2028) will bring even more sponsored activations that we must be prepared to handle.

In talks with local policy makers, we’ve found that Entertainment behemoths enjoy great influence on regulatory decisions, but small businesses in the industry are a larger segment of its population with a fraction of the ability to contribute to economic development goals. Our program is uniquely suited to abate this problem.

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

By embracing the connection of shared experiences and the inspiration of the immersive design world’s creative prowess, our program leverages the industry’s vanguard global event, which takes place in Los Angeles, HERE Fest & Summit. The Summit gathers the most influential people in this cutting edge industry field of entertainment, leveraging LA’s position as the industry capital for live entertainment.

The HERE Institute publishes an Industry Report in the Experiential Entertainment sector that captures key frontline data, released at the Summit each year. Our program ramps up this data collection, using it to empower local creators year-round through our online program and monthly Town Halls. Additionally, HERE gathers global corporations and creators to bring their biggest activations to LA via a curated event series tapping its unique network of local policy-makers, invite-only list of creative innovators across Theme Parks and Entertainment, and global PR agencies.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Long term, we seek codify a formal and easy-to-navigate process for obtaining permits. It will pre-generate a document that breaks down the specific departments required to permit any event, & creates a way to understand existing laws, empowering producers to navigate the process themselves & increasing transparency into the process. We break down what sign-offs are & are not needed with contacts for each step.

Permitting becomes scalable based on nature of use, length of run & event capacity. While our development with the City began specific to our industry, we found benefit to live events, non profit fundraisers, & many other productions. It’s hard to track the many benefits of such a program to bordering areas of economic development

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

We have been working to achieve the following:

Local policy: We have set out to create an Arts LA equivalent to Film LA that can help people navigate the cumbersome and confusing landscape of permitting. This will be a role within or in collaboration with our contacts at the office of economic development that will act as a point person (akin to internal city department enablers) for creators and businesses looking to create pop-up entertainment. The goal is consolidation of permitting processes into a single point of contact for LAPD/LAFD/LADBS/ABC and all other relevant offices.

Online portal and weekly town hall events: We will establish an initiative that codifies a formal and easy-to-navigate process for obtaining a permit. This process will include a form that creates a pre-generated document that breaks down the specific departments required to permit any particular event. It will create a safe and transparent way to understand how to navigate the existing laws and empower producers to navigate the process for themselves. It will also outline new compliance regulations for live events post-pandemic. Local permitting agents will be provided with a variety of data to inform new regulations as they are placed into effect. As a result, LA’s sprawl of urban buildings that sit empty will be full of a trackable number of compliant activations.

HERE Fest programming: The Immersive Industry Annual Report will be released alongside a series of HERE Fest programming that serves as the culmination of this year of work. Thousands of carefully selected, international Summit attendees and many more Festival show-goers will enjoy programming that is both made possible and promoting the work done by LOLA, enticing locals and visitors to create more work in LA.

Which of the create metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Arts establishments, instillations, and exhibitions
  • Employment in the creative industries
  • Global cultural and economic influence (“soft power”)

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

  • LA is the best place to PLAY
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT

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

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation