In August, Executive director and Founder of LA Commons Karen Mack traveled to NYC to be part of the Reimagining New York City Citywide Forum held at The Point CDC in the Bronx. Presented under the umbrella of Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY, this exciting work is led by the civic leader Caron Atlas who has been engaged in cultural organizing since her early days at the legendary Appalshop in Kentucky.
“I am always inspired when I get to connect with colleagues who think about the power of art and culture in the same way we do at LA Commons.” - Karen Mack
The Reimagining NYC conversation aligns with the Creating Our Next LA initiative as it, among other things, has explored ways to enact visions of creative leadership, solidarity economies, and just and equitable support systems by drawing on wisdom, stories, and ideas shared over two years of neighborhood and online gatherings.
We are lucky to have partners across the country with whom we work to explore best practices and share resources to support our common focus on leveraging arts and culture to empower residents in their efforts to make their communities better. LA Commons and NOCD -NY have a history of working together for various projects.
In 2019 the NOCD-NY brought together 5 communities across the US to support the Catalytic Connections Project. We worked to build a Cultural Organizing Convening in Little Tokyo which focused on addressing gentrification and displacement; we ideated policies for preserving local cultural assets.The CCP strengthens the capacity of artists and cultural organizations to engage with their communities and to carry out mutually beneficial and transformative collaborations.
National Endowment for the Arts funds, administered by Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY (NOCD-NY) supported cultural organizing, learning exchange and creative placekeeping at our home base, Leimert Park. During 2022, these activities concentrated on developing a ‘Healthy Culture Hub’ model in Leimert Park, culminating in a community celebration on December 17, 2022.
In 2019, LA Commons introduced the Healthy Culture Hub in Florence Graham and Leimert Park alongside a coalition of agencies and residents that have laid the foundation to leverage the power of creative placekeeping. We created a space for South LA communities to find support, heal and connect with one another. We created this project in response to the severe inequity of health, education and employment, policing and criminal justice, housing and others.