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create / 2021

Los Angeles Textile Month

Los Angeles Textile Month

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Textile Arts Los Angeles

Textile Arts Los Angeles is developing our third annual Textile Month Los Angeles, a month-long, regional festival designed to celebrate textile creativity and promote textile awareness. This virtual (or multi-location, tbd), multi-disciplinary event will showcase a breadth of textile-related voices and expressions, bringing together museums, galleries, fashion and costume designers, curators, architects and interior designers, academia, students, and the general public. Find us in September 2021!

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

  • County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Textile Month Los Angeles is an opportunity to celebrate textiles and raise awareness of their critical role in our lives, our fortunes, and our futures. Textiles swaddle us at birth and shroud us in death. They offer us shelter and warmth through clothing, furnishings, and building materials; they signal allegiances and status. They are flags, uniforms, costumes, sails, band t-shirts, sheets, and shoes. They can be studied as an art form or practiced as a design craft, and are the basis of one of LA’s largest manufacturing sectors - the garment industry. Textiles are at the epicenter of a global conversation about climate change, racial justice, and social disparities. Our challenge is connecting the power and storytelling of textiles across industries: fashion, film and tv, art and design, and academia, to the economic, social, and civic value of nurturing and sustaining this universal, essential object-craft.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Los Angeles is rightly recognized as a leader in global cultural trends and boasts a vibrant economy and a bold civic landscape. To celebrate and promote awareness of textiles is to support our collective economic, artistic, and social health. Textile Month Los Angeles is a multi-location, multi-disciplinary event that features artist talks, author talks, research presentations, workshops, exhibits, studio tours, and demos in virtual and small audience live events. Last year’s participating venues and speakers included (partial list) Craft Contemporary, Craft in America, Museum of Latin American Art, Wende Museum, Studio 203, artists Jovencio de la Paz and Michael Olszewski, researcher and poet Teju Adisa-Farrar, and curator from NYC’s Museum of Art & Design Elissa Auther, also the author of String, Felt, Thread, a critical text expanding on textile arts’ position in the fine art pantheon. We offered 16 artist talks, 4 author talks, more than a dozen exhibits and half a dozen workshops. Textile Month 2021 seeks to expand our slate of participating artists and institutions; increase the participation of commercial partners such as fashion brands, architecture and interior design studios; improve our outreach among BIPOC and LGBTQ communities, and add more panels that bring together industry, government, and education to explore how our community can enliven the study and practice of textile arts.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Textile Month Los Angeles is an opportunity to host a conversation that naturally weaves together commerce, art, and culture, about a subject that is familiar to us all yet profound in its reach and depth. TMLA offers a creative, accessible platform to celebrate, educate, and enliven our communities. It creates a series of public spaces to respond critically to timely questions in manufacturing and education, in art and craft; offers multiple creative and economic touchpoints; signals that an art practice can have a transformative, meaningful role in the community; provokes dialogue that addresses textiles’ relevance to racial-social-community issues; engages artists in making, across socio-economic, racial, geographic landscapes; fosters a sense of shared purpose. We have an opportunity to re-imagine the collective health and wellbeing of ourselves as individuals, citizens, and consumers. Los Angeles will be recognized as a leader in the re-emergence of re-imagined textile future.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We measure traffic to our website, attendance at our events, and anecdotal evidence by way of stories shared with us. In September 2019, year one, we had 2800 website visitors, earned $8100 in revenues, and sold 92 “units.” In September 2020, year two and hosted virtually, we had 5600 website visitors, earned $5,700 in revenue, and sold 456 units. These are not all inclusive (many events are hosted off our platform) nor are they apples to apples, as we hosted considerably more free events due to the pandemic. But we are showing a significant increase in traffic, which tells us we are growing. Our revenues are almost entirely turned around as speaking fees, which indicates that we are creating an economic platform for artists and speakers. Anecdotally, we know that artists have been discovered and commissioned, graduate students enrolled, designers hired, partnerships formed, projects launched, and opportunities uncovered.

Which of the create metrics will you impact?​

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