Creative Graffiti Abatement Projects, Los Angeles County
In 2013, the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture received a grant from the LA County Regional Parks and Open Space District for artists to develop artworks and community engagement strategies that would promote the value of civic spaces and decrease vandalism at two county parks and two libraries. The project created new cultural assets that were designed to meet the needs of each site, tested a new model to ensure that artists were fully supported to complete a project, and embraced evaluation as a component of the project design. Because public engagement was crucial to success, a fifth artist was hired to collaborate with the others to create engagement plans and demonstration programs for future culture programming at each site. The project sites were selected based on the frequency of graffiti at the sites, and opportunities to leverage other County investments such as renovation or construction projects. For more, see the project website.
The Creative Graffiti Abatement Project was designed around the idea that involving the community in the development of artworks would lead to artworks that are valued by the community. If the community felt ownership and attachment for the artworks and the artwork sites, then there would be greater stewardship and less vandalism.
Municipal and Arist Teams:
Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture works as a third-party partner to coordinate M/A partnerships and related projects in the county.
Susannah Laramee Kidd, Research Analyst at the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. The internal Research and Evaluation team aims to improve Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture’s work and strengthen the impact of the arts overall.
This Evaluation in Action profile draws from Art as Infrastructure: An Evaluation of Civic Art and Public Engagement in Four Communities in South Los Angeles County
Mellon/ACLS Fellows Program which funds two-year staff positions for recent humanities and social sciences PhDs at nonprofit and governmental organizations.
Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture and the county partners defined these guiding questions for the evaluation:
The evaluation implemented a mixed-methods approach, using both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. The evaluator was embedded in planning and public engagement activities throughout the project, combining elements of a Developmental Evaluation approach with ethnographic strategies. In Developmental Evaluation, the evaluator provides real-time feedback to program staff members so that they can adapt programs to complex and evolving situations. Ethnographic research emphasizes data collection through fieldwork methods like participant observation in order to represent and analyze cultural patterns and perspectives. Other methods included the following: