In 2015, the Little Tokyo Service Center of Los Angeles was one of six organizations from around the country selected to participate in the Art Place America Community Development Investments (CDI) program. Jamie Bennett, Director of Art Place America said at that time, Little Tokyo Service Center is prepared to demonstrate the unique value that artists and arts organizations can bring to its comprehensive community development initiatives. They will serve as a national model for any place-based community development organization looking to work more comprehensively and inclusively to build a healthy, thriving community.”
A significant component of the Art Place program for LTSC has been the planned initiation of an artist residency program in Little Tokyo. LTSC has engaged Campbell Consultants to move the residency project into high gear. Beginning this month, Clayton Campbell will work with LTSC and their community partners to design the program and roll out the first community based residencies in early 2018.
The CDI Program has had the larger impact of formalizing a broader commitment to the arts at LTSC through the establishment of their “+ LAB” program, which is LTSC’s strategic effort to incorporate arts and culture-based collaborations into key community development efforts in Little Tokyo. As the name suggests, they are adding a new tool to their community development toolbox, one that is creative and experimental so LTSC can better advance equity, sustainability, community empowerment, and cultural vibrancy within a community of color. In the residency program, they will be looking at questions such as:
- How can we more creatively highlight Little Tokyo’s story – past and present – and connection to a larger Los Angeles identity of historic ethnic neighborhoods?
- How can we engage arts and artists/cultural workers to build local power and advance community control over Little Tokyo’s future, like the development of First Street North?
- How can community development efforts support existing community, arts & cultural assets, ensuring the long-term viability of affordable housing for residents with low incomes and historic small businesses? (change this bullet to be the same as it is in you letter)
We will be posting developments from this exciting project as it unfolds during 2018-19.