Cultural Treasures of South LA is an asset mapping and activation initiative under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and Promise Zone Arts (PZA). The South LA iteration of this initiative is being conducted in partnership with the LA Commons, SLATE-Z and Community Coalition, and the University of Southern California. This project gives South LA residents a participatory platform to spotlight local Cultural Treasures — the artists, sites, cultural practices and tradition bearers that they deem significant, illuminating the rich cultural tapestry that makes their communities thrive.
Nominate your LA Promise Zone Cultural Treasure today:
Cultural Treasures of South LA Website: SouthLACulture.org
The Cultural Treasures of South LA website is the culmination of DCA’s Promise Zone Arts South LA (PZA: SLA) initiative, a community-engaged cultural asset mapping and activation project providing South LA community members a participatory platform to spotlight local cultural treasures that participants deem significant, illuminating the rich cultural tapestry that makes this community thrive.
DCA’s initiative is stewarded by LA Commons in collaboration with community partners South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z), Community Coalition, and the USC Price Center for Social Innovation.
Building on the work of DCA’s previous Promise Zone Arts initiative in the Central Los Angeles Promise Zone, PZA: SLA is focused on the federally designated South Los Angeles Promise Zone which encompasses the communities of Leimert Park, Vermont Square, Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, and connected neighborhoods.
The project’s aims are threefold: to promote a community-centered and community-driven vision of what makes South LA culturally vibrant, dynamic, diverse, and unique; to support and uplift the artists, culture bearers, and others who comprise South LA’s rich creative tapestry; and to encourage locals and tourists alike to learn about – and visit – the cultural treasures, sites, and businesses that make South LA a flourishing cultural region.
The Cultural Treasures of South LA website, which features: a publicly accessible database; an interactive map of more than 200 community-nominated cultural treasures; and a story bank, launches June 8, 2023 with a series of events as well as new video content that will be released throughout the month.
The PZA: SLA initiative was made possible by a generous grant awarded to DCA by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town Initiative, which supports activities that integrate arts, culture, and design into local efforts that strengthen communities. Our Town projects advance local economic, physical, or social outcomes in communities, ultimately laying the groundwork for systems change and centering equity.
The first iteration of Promise Zone Arts was a two-year, multi-neighborhood cultural asset mapping and activation initiative administered by DCA from 2018 to 2020 that utilizes cultural mapping strategies, ethnographic documentation, community gatherings, and free public events to identify and support the artists, cultural practitioners, tradition bearers, and sites that Los Angeles Promise Zone neighborhood residents deem significant. Promise Zone Arts seeks to illuminate the value of neighborhood cultural assets from the perspectives of residents and make the cultural treasures they identify visible and recognized as essential in making our communities more sustainable and livable.