How Small Los Angeles Arts Groups are Catching Bloomberg’s Attention

Despite a national focus and strong ties to New York, small arts groups in Los Angeles have been catching Bloomberg Philanthropies' attention in really impressive ways. The foundation is investing $4.5 million into the Los Angeles arts scene over the next two years. This is part of a national initiative, but worth noting for local groups because of the size and relevance of this commitment.

There are 51 new Bloomberg grant recipients in Los Angeles, and they’re all receiving between $5,000 and $175,000 each. Visual arts, literature, arts education, and film groups came out on top in Los Angeles in this grantmaking round. A full list of grantees in all focus cities can be viewed on the Bloomberg website. A few Los Angles ones include:

  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
  • Inner City Arts
  • Cornerstone Theater Company
  • Diavolo Dance Theater
  • East West Players
  • Debbie Allen Dance Academy
  • Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
  • Community Impact Arts

The grant program is called Arts Innovation and Management. And there are six cities in Bloomberg’s line of sight right now: Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, San Francisco, and Dallas. 

Related: Bloomberg Philanthropies Doubles Down On Its Arts Innovation and Management Program

In this recent round of grantmaking, it became clear that Bloomberg sees potential in small arts groups in these cities.

“Local arts groups are economic and cultural engines that contribute to communities in ways that few other industries can,” said Michael R. Bloomberg in a press release. “By supporting smaller organizations that don’t typically have endowments and providing them with management training, we are working to help them have an even greater positive impact on an even broader audience.”

If you didn’t see an open request for proposals from Bloomberg, you didn’t miss out because there wasn’t one sent out. Instead, Bloomberg collaborated with local arts funders in L.A. to hand-pick these new 51 grantees.

But there’s a bit of a catch with these new grants. Each grantee is required to raise a matching amount from other funders and individual donors. The good part is that this is unrestricted funding, which is exactly what most L.A. arts groups need right now.

To be considered, arts groups must be in operation for at least a couple years, and typical grantees include local cultural centers and performing, literary and visual art organizations that present music, film, dance, poetry and other art forms. According to a National Endowment for the Arts report, creative industries contribute $698 billion to the nation’s economy, representing more than 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). For Bloomberg, local art is about a lot more than just entertainment and nice things to look at.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg awarded the City of Los Angeles a million dollars for public art projects that promise are creative, celebrate diversity, and drive economic development.

Related: LA Art with a Message Wins Big With Bloomberg Philanthropies 

However, Bloomberg isn’t only concerned with the arts scene in Los Angeles. The foundation has committed an additional $1.5 million in grants to other types of nonprofit interests as well. These are three-year grants that have a more social purpose, rather than an artistic one.

Local arts groups should check out Bloomberg’s Arts Innovation and Management page to learn more about this funding program; however, there is no indication that it’ll stray from its invitation-only roots. General inquiries can be submitted via online form.