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Home / Impact / $500,000 Getty Prize goes to LA-based youth arts organization

$500,000 Getty Prize goes to LA-based youth arts organization

by Staff
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A Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that works with underserved youth will receive the $500,000 Getty Prize, the J. Paul Getty Trust announced Tuesday.

This year’s Getty Prize winner — artist Mark Bradford — chose the Arts for Healing and Justice Network to receive the sizable grant.

“AHJN is an extraordinary organization whose efforts directly impact change within the juvenile justice system,” Mark Bradford said in a statement. “With the Getty Prize, I am proud to support the important work AHJN is doing to transform young people’s lives through the power of arts education and look forward to seeing everything they will be able to accomplish as a result of this generous grant.”

AHJN was founded in 2012 and formerly called the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network. The organization seeks “to provide alternatives to incarceration, build resiliency and wellness, increase community health, eliminate recidivism, and center arts as a change strategy for young people, communities, and systems,” according to the Getty Trust.

AHJN works to provide arts education to “system-impacted” children and young adults in LA County, such as artworxLA and the Versa Style Dance Co., according to the trust’s statement. The organization utilizes a collaborative model that aims to ensure a steady flow of interdisciplinary support and engagement for local children and teens. These efforts have led to the development of “rich programming, improved outcomes for youth, and more efficient re-directing of public dollars” to communities that have an inequitable share of opportunities for youth arts education, according to the Getty Trust.

“AHJN has proven that we are stronger together. Our members come to the table with a shared core value of collaboration — and a shared north star of supporting young people while leveraging our collective power to dismantle harmful systems,” AHJN Executive Director Elida Ledesma said in a statement. “This award will allow us to strengthen our infrastructure, give us the capacity to continue and deepen our work, and enhance our ability to continue supporting the work of our members.

AHJN works with more than a dozen arts groups, including the Homeboy Art Academy, Street Poets, Rhythm Arts Alliance and the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA.

“Under AHJN, 20 member agencies provide high-quality arts education that includes creative writing, spoken word, visual arts, theater, digital media, dance, and music,” according to the trust’s statement. “This work now extends beyond Probation-run facilities, to include support for youth reentry, youth leadership development, advocacy, and community-based programs.”

This year was the first time the Getty Prize was awarded to a single person — Bradford — who then recognized the nonprofit’s work with the $500,000 grant, according to the trust. The Getty Trust Board of Trustees reviews nominations and determines awardees.

Past prize recipients included Frank Gehry, Ellsworth Kelly, Ed Ruscha, Lorna Simpson, Agnes Gund, Yo-Yo Ma, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Richard Serra and others. The first recipients were Harold M. Williams and Nancy Englander, who received the prize for their leadership toward creating the Getty organization as it exists today.

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