Farmlab Public Salon
Karen Mack
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ Noon
Free Admission

About the Salon

Trekking Los Angeles: Local Adventures in a Global City is a marketing campaign, implemented by LA Commons and UCLA School of Urban Planning to promote and make more accessible the diverse neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and contribute to answering the question, how does culture contribute to community development? The campaign started in 2007 with series of cultural tours and activities featuring three neighborhoods – Leimert Park, Highland Park and Thai Town – and continued in 2008 with Trekking Los Angeles: BBQ Adventures in a Global City and the launch of the Trekking LA website ( Trekking Los Angeles over the last two years has brought hundreds of people to these neighborhoods and made them more visible to thousands of others through coverage by major media including the Los Angeles Times articles and Los Angeles Magazine. The mission of LA Commons is to engage communities in artistic and cultural expression that tells their unique stories and serves as a basis for dialogue, interaction and a better understanding of Los Angeles. Key to the implementation of this mission are community-based art initiatives which employ local artists and art students in translating community stories into public art. Since the inception of LA Commons’ in January 2003, they have implemented 15 initiatives in eight neighborhoods, involving 28 artists, 160 youth and 900 community members in the art making process, and several thousand as audience members. LA Commons’ projects increase participants’ involvement in the civic landscape, leverage local cultural assets into increased tourism and economic activity and build bridges across the diverse communities of Los Angeles.

About the Salon Speaker

Karen Mack is founder and Executive Director of LA Commons, an organization dedicated to promoting Los Angeles' diverse neighborhoods through locally based, interactive, artistic and cultural programming. LA Commons has implemented community art projects, tours and classes in communities throughout LA and in partnership with organizations such as the Central American Resource Center, the South Asian Network, Thai Community Development Center and UCLA. Prior to work with LA Commons, she served as a Public Service Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where she researched the role of culture in community building. Her appointment at Harvard followed work as the Vice President, Program Development and Planning at Community Partners, an organization that provides developmental support to start-up nonprofits throughout Los Angeles County. While on staff at Community Partners, she developed a wide-range of initiatives including the incubator services program and organizational partnerships with institutions such as the California Wellness Foundation and the California Endowment. She holds an MPA from Harvard University and an MBA from the John Anderson School of Management at UCLA. She is currently president of the board of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative and an appointed member to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Cultural Plan for the City of Los Angeles.

Image above designed by Julie Ray, courtesy LA Commons

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