Our Vision, Mision, Purpose, & History

Our members are innovators.



Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles prepares, educates, and inspires the next generation of arts sector leadership.


By inspiring and fostering diverse leadership and creativity we are enriching and sustaining the cultural ecology of Los Angeles.

EAL/LA is a project of Community Partners and a local chapter of the national Emerging Leaders Network initiated by Americans for the Arts.

Managing director

Claudia de Vasco



EAL/LA is a network of arts professionals whose purpose is to grow and support upcoming creative leaders in the greater Los Angeles area.

EAL/LA serves self-identified cultural workers. Our members work in all arts disciplines, in the nonprofit and commercial sectors. They represent artists, administrators, managers, directors, funders, and consultants. Typically they have worked in the arts sector for less than 10 years and have a desire to expand their professional capacity.

Many early­ career arts professionals have few opportunities to expand their leadership capacity. EAL/LA members address this need by developing programs designed to enhance their professional development, expand their network, and share their resources.



Around 1999, a group including Leslie Ito (now President/CEO at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center), Danielle Brazell (now General Manager at the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles), Sofia Klatzker-Miller (now Executive Director of Arts for LA), and Leigh Ann Hahn (Director of Programming, Grand Performances), and Angie Kim (now President and CEO of the Center for Cultural Innovation) started meeting to provide one another with professional development and networking opportunities, forming one of the first groups of its kind in the coutryr. Around the same time, Americans for the Arts became interested in the idea of Emerging Leader networks, and tapped its first EAL/LAer to join the Emerging Leader Council. In the intervening years,many members of the Leadership Council and Advisory Board have served on the AFTA Emerging Leaders Council connecting EAL/LA to the nationwide conversation surrounding arts leadership.

EAL/LA was revitalized in 2005/2006 by John Arroyo, who was then working for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Around 2007/2008, EAL/LA adopted Network Theory for governance and programming. The “Core Hub” scheduled meetings, and additional Hubs, such as Development, Mixers, and Book Club, created programs. EAL/LA also began hosting annual Creative Conversations and continued holding regular meetings.

In 2009, the network was invited to apply for funding from the James Irvine Foundation to expand their services, formalize leadership, and undergo strategic planning . EAL/LA enjoyed support from the Irvine Foundation from 2010-2014. It has also received ongoing programmatic support for annual Creative Conversations from the Department of Cultural Affairs since 2011.

In 2013, EAL/LA worked with an external consultant to undergo an organizational restructure, thus further formalizing the role of the Managing Director, establishing three subcommittees (Development, Marketing & Communications, and Programming) and introducing several At-Large Member positions onto the Leadership Council.

In 2015, EAL/LA was invited to apply for funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of its Next Generation Arts Leadership Initiative. Not only has this support further solidified the statewide network of emerging arts leaders organizations, it has made it possible for EAL/LA to revisit the strategic planning process, which concluded in early 2017.