With support from the California Arts Council, and in partnership with MAP, Los Angeles Performance Practice is conducting a study with national partners in grantmaking and fundraising on the current ecosystem of contemporary performance-making in Los Angeles, as compared to other major cities in California and nationwide. As creators of works that mark current culture, the study aims to demonstrate the need for supporting producing systems and practices that critically sustain independent artists.

Carried out between August 2019 – May 2021, the project will gather and present data, including figures, statistics and individual artist case studies, to compare the sources of funding that contribute to contemporary performance-making on the East and West Coasts. The project will culminate in both a written report and a toolkit on how artists can identify funding sources. In carrying out this research, the project will pay particular attention to how resources are distributed to artists in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. These cities hold significant artist populations that need support, and this project will outline how existing power structures and gatekeepers associated with the allocation of resources influence artist location and migration.


This project aims to produce three outcomes that will yield nationwide impacts on the field:

  • A published report on the systems of support for Los Angeles artists, including city to city comparisons, to be used as a tool for both artists and legislators advocating for increased arts support. Types of support to be included in our research include foundation grants, government grants, individual donor appeals, crowdsourcing, and institutional commissions. 
  • Toolkits for artists with strategies to reach a broader section of individual donors for new art-making, including guides to crowdsourcing in our current giving climate. 
  • Plans for a new program for the development of independent producers and curators, offering skills for independent art and performance events. These independent producers will become a new workforce for the advancement of the art of performance in Los Angeles and throughout California. 


Aggregating this data has the potential to illuminate discrepancies in access. Some existing arts funders are adopting interventionist positions to address issues of equity in the arts ecology, creating active strategies for more equitable distribution of resources. The project’s data will enhance understanding of where and how discrepancies occur. Our goal is that, armed with this knowledge, such interventions may be ever more effective.

This research will endeavor to address questions of resource and distribution from the artists’ perspective and how they realize the actual practice of making. It will delve deep to cover a wide range of artists, including those who do not regularly receive institutional funding and therefore are often excluded from data sets. It will also zoom out to evaluate such research more broadly through a per capita lens, to ask how, nationally, we are investing in contemporary art and performance as a public service.

This initial study, funded by the California Arts Council and therefore focused on two major cities in that state, will clearly show the need for more national research.