USA | LACMA9 Art + Film Lab: mobilizing education and meeting new audiences

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) launced LACMA9 Art+Film Lab in June 2013 with the aim to encourage more people to experience film as an art form through active participation. Over the course of 16 months, and using a big red steel and plywood structure, designed by sculptor Jorge Pardo, as a traveling mobile installation/event/community space, the Lab camped out in parking lots, community spaces, and parks in some of these nine cities for five weeks at a time. Each weekend, its crew screened movies, hosted musical bands, taught workshops on film and video, and gathered oral histories from community members. Supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation, the events and classes were free. It was a boon for the participants, many of whom had never heard of LACMA before.

While LACMA9 may have been the institution's first traveling educational endeavor, Sarah Jesse, associate vice president of education and public programs at LACMA, explained that the Lab was just a different iteration LACMA's outreach philosophy. "[We want to] build relationships with people on their own turf, in their own neighborhoods, before expecting them to come visit us." She added, "The nine cities were purposely picked so LACMA could have a chance to form relationships with organizations and individuals that we've never met before."

The Lab connected families, developed cross-cultural interactions, and -- most importantly -- empowered the people. "We've had people who've never used a camera in their lives keep coming back to our workshops and now they want to make feature-length documentaries," Bahm said. "[LACMA9] gave [participants] access to all these world-class filmmakers who are giving you everything they can to make sure you can own this process [of filmmaking]. It's like, you have a camera in your hand, here's how to edit."

Learn more about this project and watch videos here.

Photo credit: Hacienda Heights lab workshop | Photo: Kate Marks

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is involved in the ADESTE project and has contributed expertise to focus group discussions.

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