Nine months ago my business partner and I were approached by Councilman Tom La Bonge’s office with the idea of creating a new Arts Festival for NoHo. Tom La Bonge has long been a supporter of the arts in Los Angeles and really wanted to leave NoHo with a festival the community could be proud of.
Our first step was a meeting with the Councilman and several other active members of the community who also wanted to see an Arts Festival in the District again. It seemed like a good time to try to create an event like this. NoHo has gone through dramatic changes in the last several years since the past festivals were held. While many of us are aware of the amazing things going on in the District, we still have not reached our full potential in terms of the rest of Los Angeles knowing about us.
We knew from the very first meeting that people really wanted a festival here. Then came the problem that has been our largest task for the past nine months. How do we fund it and how do we create a festival that includes all of the different art forms that exist in our district?
Let me tell you this has been no easy task. We immediately joined forces with the NoHo Arts Network, NoHoArtsDistrict.Com and Russell Harris Events Group to produce the event. On top of that we have had a large group of community partners that have donated countless hours to help us create the new festival.
Once our team came together we realized that this was going to be a monumental grass roots effort. The past festivals have always received the majority of their funding from city agencies. With the state of the current economy we realized very quickly that those funds no longer exist. So we set out on our path of fund raising through corporate sponsorship.
I know that using corporate sponsorship sounds counter intuitive to a grass roots effort but what it has allowed us to do is to create an event that is still in the hands of the community. This festival has been put together and created by the arts-based businesses in the district as well as the community groups.
While there have been a few nay sayers in the community, for the most part the response to this festival has been overwhelming. The last nine months have been a struggle but in the end you have to remember who you are doing this for. The people who take pride in their community and want to do something that will allow the rest of the world to see all that NoHo has to offer.
Now we are a month and a half away from the festival. Our new challenge is bringing all of the elements together and creating an event for people to enjoy. My next blog will go into detail about the event and what will be going on. Make sure you mark your calendars for Saturday, November 12th !