Courtesy Freewaves L.A.
Screenshot from "This Is LA" by filmmaker Rosa Estrada, from L.A. Freewaves' Out The Window project
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission today released the list of nearly 200 arts groups that’ll share $4 million in competitive grants. The money will allow many arts organizations to pay for creative projects as other sources of cash dry up.
More than a quarter of the groups are getting county arts grants for the first time.
That’s the case of Art of Elysium. For 15 years that organization has paired artists with kids who have major disabilities.
One of the 34,000 kids the group reached last year was a 17-year-old girl who had a bone marrow transplant to treat cancer, says grantwriter Jennifer Armstrong.
"You’re looking at a situation where she’s very socially isolated and obviously in a really challenging medical position as well," says Armstrong, "and in that case what she was most interested in doing was doing a video-diary documentary of her experience."
Art of Elysium recruited a filmmaker to visit the girl once a week and teach her to use a video camera, edit the footage and tell the story of what she’d gone through.
This year L.A. Freewaves failed to get a few grants it had been awarded in the past. The media group will use its $14,000 L.A. County grant to help start Out the Window, a project that’ll place two-minute artist-created videos on 2,200 L.A. County Metro buses.
The group’s Heidi Zeller says the videos will introduce riders to the neighborhoods and people of the L.A. megalopolis. "The idea was really, introducing L.A. to itself and that it is such a large city, it is so spread out, notoriously, and we just wanted people to know what’s out there, who’s out there, who’s doing interesting things out there."
Many buses already carry video monitors that show riders lots of commercials. Zeller says her group surveyed bus riders and found they wanted more enriching content. The Out the Window videos will turn up on bus screens toward the end of the summer.