In November 2015, Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced a resolution that was unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors, directing the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to conduct “a constructive County-wide conversation about ways to improve diversity in cultural organizations” for all LA County residents. The Board specifically directed the Arts Commission to focus on five key target areas: Boards of Directors, Staffing, Audience/Participants, and Programming. To this the Arts Commission added a fifth: Artists/Creators.
To conduct the CEII initiative, over the course of 18-months the Arts Commission engaged in a comprehensive series of strategies that included
- An Advisory Committee reflecting diversity in race and ethnicity, socio-economic background, gender, age, physical ability, LGBTQ status, arts discipline and geography across LA County, led by three Co-Chairs who are leaders in the LA County arts ecology,
- Fourteen Town Hall meetings in locations across LA County where 650 participants shared their experiences and ideas for improving cultural equity and inclusion in the arts,
- Working Groups that honed ideas that emerged through the town hall process into formal recommendations and developed vision statements for each of the five key target areas
- The first-ever survey of arts organizations across LA County to measure the diversity of boards, staff, volunteers and contractors,
- Consultation with peers in New York and other cities to identify best practices in diversity, cultural equity and inclusion in the arts,
- Opportunities for the public to share their ideas anonymously, through an artist-led project .
- A literature review that showed the current state of knowledge and conditions in the field, and
- Input from other LA County cultural institutions as well as local arts funders.