Deaf schoolchildren doing standup comedy? Day laborers writing and performing fandango songs? Skid Row residents learning the crafts of bookbinding and illustration?
These creative initiatives may not meet anyone’s definition of traditional arts programming—and for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, that’s exactly the point.
Under the county’s new Community Impact Arts Grant program, the commission in April awarded $500,000 to 51 organizations serving young people, the disabled, veterans, the homeless, and others, while focusing on issues ranging from the environment to immigrants’ rights.
While some of the projects are still in development, others already are flourishing. This photo gallery goes behind the scenes of three of them and shows that you don’t need to be a professional to create art that’s straight from the heart.