The Los Angeles Music and Art School (LAMusArt) has always been and continues to be committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. LAMusArt’s mission is to provide equitable and affordable access to multi-disciplinary arts education programs to the community of East Los Angeles, and, since its founding, LAMusArt has been open to all students, regardless of race, sex, creed, citizenship, and income. LAMusArt recognizes that arts education is not available to all students throughout Los Angeles, and access to instruction in dance, drama, music, and visual arts is often predicated on zip code and socioeconomic factors; LAMusArt seeks to address that imbalance.
As a cornerstone of the East Los Angeles community since 1945, LAMusArt has served generations of students who lived in the neighborhoods surrounding the school, and, as the populations of those neighborhoods have changed, LAMusArt has embraced new members of its community and created programs that reflect the wants and needs of its students. Currently, the majority of its students are Latino/Latina, but, throughout its history, the school has supported students from many cultural backgrounds, always upholding its mission to provide creative paths to creative futures for students on the eastside. To that end, LAMusArt presents high-quality arts education programs, all at affordable cost, and many of them free. The school offers tuition assistance and scholarships to further democratize its programs so that no student is unable to participate for lack of funds.
LAMusArt’s commitment to DEI is not limited to its student population. While, among arts institutions, boards and staff remain largely white, older, and male, especially in senior roles, LAMusArt has long subverted that paradigm; the staff, including the Executive Director, and the school’s teaching artists include people of diverse ages, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds, and the board is more than 50% women. While diversity is obviously more than checkmarks on a demographics list, and it is certainly reductive to represent individuals in terms of such characteristics, it is clear that LAMusArt has largely eschewed the racial and gender homogeneity that many cultural and arts organizations are now seeking to rectify.
While LAMusArt has always adhered to its philosophy of accessibility and opportunity for all, it is not enough to rest on our past practices. In furtherance of its commitment to DEI, LAMusArt has adopted the following policies and principles:
All students are welcome. LAMusArt serves and is reflective of the East Los Angeles community, and no student will be turned away because of income, race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion.
Arts education is fundamental. Participating in expressive and artistic endeavors is important for individuals, especially young people, and communities — and society as a whole — are enriched by the cultural activities of their members. Too often, opportunities for arts education are bestowed only on wealthy individuals in wealthy communities. LAMusArt supports vibrant and educational arts programs to ensure that all its students are afforded the fundamental ability to express themselves through dance, drama, music, and visual arts.
Leadership must reflect its DEI values. In selecting or hiring board and/or staff members, LAMusArt must hold true to its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. That involves not only being an equal opportunity employer, but considering the barriers and factors that often stand in the way of women, people of color, LGBTQ, etc. entering and thriving in the arts arena, and taking substantive steps to support any interested applicant.
Approved and adopted on March 20, 2019.