Empowering Artists with Disabilities to Fill the Creative Industry Employment Gap

submission by tierradelsol

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Tierra del Sol Foundation

Organization(s) website(s):


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Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


Tierra del Sol Foundation enables adults with moderate to severe developmental disabilities to realize their greatest human potential, become as independent as possible within their communities, and establish a valued role in society.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


1 in 6 children are being born with developmental disabilities - such as Autism and Down syndrome - requiring lifelong support, adding to over 830,000 California adults with developmental disabilities. Our cultural landscape will be stunted if we don’t help the artists among this population to express themselves. Tierra will identify people who are artistically gifted, and empower them to build careers, increasing employment in creative industries such as animation, ceramics, and commercial art.

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


Tierra creates opportunities for adults with disabilities to share their talents and build arts careers!

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valey

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Create” metrics? (check all that apply)

Employment in the creative industries

Arts establishments per capita

Concentration of manufacturing activity in LA

Federal research grant funding

Patents per capita

Jobs per capita

Minority- and women-owned firms

Gini coefficient

Number of high growth startups

Venture capital investment

Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)

Recruiting and retention rates for local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)

Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating (Dream Metric)

Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to create.


Tierra’s Fine Arts program combines individualized support with professional instruction to empower individuals, with significant disabilities, to build careers in the arts. The program integrates a variety of art forms to allow participants to identify and cultivate their passion, while speaking to different audiences. Almost 140 people each day explore their interest and talents in the arts, through painting, drawing, and ceramics, at Tierra’s First Street Gallery Art Center and Sunland Studio Arts. Tierra has enabled over 10% of the people we serve (70 of 660) to become professional artists.

Artists with moderate to severe developmental disabilities develop their artistic skills, create art, and display and sell their work throughout Los Angeles County. Tierra Fine Arts is a year-round program that provides individualized instruction each weekday. The program is comprised of:

(1) Professional Arts Career Training
Tierra provides professional training, by instructors who support artists in building their arts résumé, and guide development of career skills such as writing artist statements, creating exhibition themes, and selecting and installing art for exhibitions. These skills prepare the artists to market their complete, fully-developed résumés.

Each participant develops a personalized plan for career goals, independent transportation, and social skills. This plan might include developing their career skills by volunteering at non-profit organizations. Artists, in the Tierra Fine Arts program, teach arts and serve vulnerable populations at non-profits including: Joslyn Senior Center, daCenter for the Arts, and Emerson Village Assisted Living.

(2) Art Creation
Artists are invited to create and submit work for consideration in exhibitions. For a recent exhibition, called “The Open Road”, Tierra artist Joe Zaldivar created and submitted an illustration of Hamer Toyota’s lobby. This piece was featured in the announcement, at the artist reception held at Hamer, and has become a permanent piece of art in the dealer’s lobby since March.

(3) Promotion and Exhibition
Tierra staff members identify exhibitions that build artists résumés and share work. Tierra builds relationships with galleries and local businesses to increase the reach of the artwork at 6 or more exhibitions each year. As a result, people in Los Angeles have an example of how they, and their family or friends with disabilities, can overcome challenges to achieve their goals.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


Tierra Fine Arts will engage new audiences in the painting, sculptures, and illustrations produced by artists with developmental disabilities. As a result, Tierra will achieve the following objectives:

Objective 1 – Tierra will continue to maintain full capacity of quality art programs, helping 140 people each day (260 each week) improve their skills in the fine arts, work ethic, productivity, workplace conduct, safety skills, communication skills, mobility skills, and money skills.

Objective 2 – Seventy (70) artists, with moderate to severe developmental disabilities, will build their professional arts resume by publicly exhibiting their work.

Objective 3 –Tierra will increase exhibition attendance by 10-15%. The sales, exhibitions, and attendance will be monitored and compared to prior years’, to determine if changes made in that year positively or negatively impacted the community’s involvement.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

3 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

No Place like Tierra Del Sol. My son has thrived in their program. It's an honor to vote for them!

by Alisonole
6 months ago

Awesome! Made me proud to see the wonderful people that are behind the art.

by Girlsrule
6 months ago

wanted to thank you for the work you do in the community. We are also running for this grant under create. We are called Heart of Art Gallery. We would love to work in the future. We are a group of artist who heal through art, music, poetry, natural resources *plants*, animals and we spread love. We work with a lot of diff communities and we would love to support yours as well :)
Keep working hard.

Thank you


by Hoagirls35
6 months ago

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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
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Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015