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WHEN DID THE LOS ANGELES VISUAL ARTS COALITION BEGIN?The original members of the coalition came together in March 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic forced our organizations to close their doors. What began as casual conversations among a few directors of small to mid-sized arts organizations in Los Angeles to share information, compare experiences, and support one another during an unprecedented moment, began to expand as more leaders were invited to join in the conversation. Over time, as friendships and trust developed, we uncovered shared challenges experienced by all asthe existing models of fundraising often put us in competition with one another and can unwittingly create an atmosphere of scarcity. We realized there are many things that we cannot do alone, but that we could achieve if we did them together. We decided to truly embody the concept of an interconnected ecosystem and create mechanisms that fortified our entire sector. A healthy, vibrant sector would then in turn nourish each individual organization. We saw an opportunity to work together, to offer mutual support, and to collectively amplify each other’s administrative and fundraising efforts.
WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR MEMBERSHIP?Members of the LAVA Coalition are independent small to mid-sized, artist-centered 501 (c)(3) organizations, presenting contemporary visual art in Los Angeles County. Organizations have a maximum annual operating budget of $3M. LAVA does not include municipal or city-funded organizations or those affiliated with a 4-year college or university. Organizations affilated with community colleges are welcome.
HOW CAN NEW MEMBERS JOIN THE COALITION?To date, organizations have been identified and invited by the existing members with the goal that the LAVA Coalition will reflect the range and diversity of organizations within this sector across Los Angeles. The LAVA Coalition welcomes new members every six months.
WHAT IS THE ORGANIZING STRUCTURE OF LAVA COALITION?
The LAVA Coalition was founded organically without a pre-existing governance or administrative structure. It operates on a non-hierarchical model without officers or formal positions in which decisions are made through open discussion and collectivity.
HOW DOES THE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN WORK?The LAVA Coalition fundraising campaign was designed to create a new model of “community-centric” fundraising: advocating together for the role we play as a vital sector of LA's cultural landscape and the diversity of communities we serve. This collective fundraising model is a critical safeguard against deserving organizations becoming insolvent because of the recession caused by the pandemic. It is inspired by an ethos of mutual support, the power of the collective, and the goal to not only survive the current economic downturn but thrive going forward. Our effort guarantees the maximum impact of contributions from foundations and individual donors who want to support the vibrant arts ecology of Los Angeles.
HOW MUCH IS LAVA COALITION TRYING TO RAISE?LAVA has conceived of three fundraising initiatives to support our sector:
CREATIVE WORKER HEALTH CARE PLAN
Supports Health Care Benefits for every full-time and part-time employee in all LAVA member organizations.
CAPACITY BUILDING ACROSS THE SECTOR
Supports consultants in Human Resources, Finance and Development collectively for all LAVA organizations. This initative addresses needs related to staff equity, resources, and organizational growth.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Provides a one-time $50,000 deposit in General Operating Funds to all participating LAVA organizations, fortifying the long-term vitality of our sector.
HOW ARE THE FUNDS RAISED DISTRIBUTED?The LAVA Coalition has devised three distinct structures for the distribution of funds:
DISTRIBUTION BY SCALE: For our Health Care initative, funds are allocated to each member organization based on their number of employees.
DISTRIBUTION INTO A SHARED POOL: For our Capacity Building iniative, funds are contributed into a shared account for collective payment of services.
EQUAL DISTRIBUTION: For our 2021 Economic Recovery initiative, funds are distributed in equal amounts to every member organization.
LAVA has appointed two members to serve as Co-Treasurers. Their role is to request distribution of funds from LAVA’s secure account, and to provide regular financial reports to the coalition.