A mural depicting the history of Boyle Heights greets parents dropping off their children at my son's elementary school. Inside, a large cartoon bee emblazoned on a handball court reminds students to "be respectful and be responsible." Situated on the emerging Arts District, with a theatre, gallery, music school all within walking distance, the school's murals and surrounding vibrant arts community are no where to be seen inside the classroom. The dearth of arts education mainly due to budget cuts and testing mandates disproportionally affect low-income schools in neighborhoods like Boyle Heights.
The irony was never lost on me: arts needy school in an arts-rich hood. When my son began kindergarten this fall, I was determined to change that. As the Advocacy Manager for Arts for LA, I am tasked with connecting with or creating networks of arts supporters and building capacity to advocate for the arts. My advocacy work comprises two phases: building support and mobilizing support.