The Harmony Project
Community-Based Mobile Music Production Labs
With support from LA2050, Harmony Project will launch community-based, pop-up arts experiences that promote social-emotional wellbeing as well as individual and community healing after the pandemic. Through a creative place-making lens, we will host monthly mobile music-production labs that will make music-making and sharing accessible to and driven by community members.
Describe the mission of your organization.
Harmony Project harnesses the transformative power of music to increase access to higher education for underserved students by removing the systemic barriers to achievement through academic and social support.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- South LA
- County of Los Angeles
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
With nearly 500 museums and art galleries and more than 700 music venues and theaters, Los Angeles boasts a plethora of arts and cultural experiences. There are, however, significant financial and geographic barriers which often prohibit individuals from historically marginalized communities to benefit from these experiences. Additionally, due to the pandemic, we have seen more than 20,000 lives lost and a 12% unemployment rate in Los Angeles in the past year. Historically marginalized communities have been hit the hardest by these traumatic effects of the pandemic. What these numbers don’t illustrate are the stories of indescribable loss, stress, and resilience that individuals have faced. Harmony Project intends to provide program opportunities to community members of all ages in order to increase access to public arts experiences while also providing a platform to share stories through music, ultimately promoting social-emotional wellbeing and strengthening community connectedness.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
Harmony Project has offered music production courses to students since 2018. We quickly realized that this form of music-making is immediately engaging and accessible when participants are provided the equipment and software. Inspired by our success with young people, this program will provide monthly music production labs to community members. We will have a static location once per month at the EXPO Center in South LA as well as a traveling music lab once per month in partnership with outdoor public events and our network of partners. All activities will take place outdoors and will abide by COVID-19 guidelines established by the LA County Department of Public Health. If these guidelines restrict us from gathering in person for some or all of the sessions, we will increase our allocation of funds to marketing and outreach and will carry out the programs through an online platform, as we have all of our activities over the past year. This initiative is multi-faceted and will address the following priorities: -Increase access to free and accessible public arts experiences in Los Angeles communities; -Provide community space to individually and collectively process our personal stories and our place in our communities through music; -Connect community members to free socio-emotional resources; -Engage middle and high school students in community-based volunteer activities; -Support the vitality of the arts industry by providing job opportunities for community-based artists.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Pilot or new project, program, or initiative
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
In the short-term, our goal is to increase access to public arts experiences in historically marginalized communities that often have less access to the arts than affluent communities. We see these music labs and the music created through them as a way to increase intergenerational and community dialogue, especially as communities and individuals begin to heal from the effects of the pandemic. In the long term, our goal is that these music labs will serve as a launching point for communities to feel empowerment in community dialogue and mobilization.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
While this particular initiative is new and has not yet been evaluated, our organization has a 20-year history of earnestly evaluating our program activities yearly to inform our work and best serve our communities. Through a combination of individualized progress check-ins, surveys to all stakeholders, and focus groups, each year we record and analyze data to inform continued growth. Due to these efforts, we have the infrastructure in place needed to effectively evaluate new programs like this one. Every music lab participant will be asked to take an exit survey. We will also record repeat participants, particularly at our static South LA space and will provide a specific survey at the end of the year to measure growth and impact over a prolonged period of time. Qualitatively, we will assess the success of the project through the music created during music labs and the enthusiasm with which community members participate.
Which of the connect metrics will you impact?
- Social and emotional support
- Public arts and cultural events
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
- LA is the best place to LEARN
- LA is the best place to CREATE
- LA is the best place to PLAY
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