Call for California Artists: Little Tokyo Service Center +LAB Artist Residency (CA), with stipend, travel, and project budget

Call for California Artists: Little Tokyo Service Center +LAB Artist Residency (CA), with stipend, travel, and project budget

Deadline: January 15th, 2018

Little Tokyo Service Center, a Community Development Corporation in Los Angeles, California, presents the +LAB Artist Residency Program, which seeks 4 artists for a three-month community based residency May 1st through July 31st, 2018. Selected California  based artists (including at least one artist from the Little Tokyo community) from multiple disciplines will collaborate with local arts organizations to create artworks and projects promoting community engagement and creative place making strategies around the broad theme of “Community Control and Self Determination.” This might include: addressing issues of affordable housing and homelessness; building bridges across cultural, generational, and/or linguistic divides; devising artistic strategies to connect Little Tokyo with other communities of color; enhancing the safety and security of local residents; fostering community-wide conversations about the future development of the neighborhood; promoting a healthy and sustainable small business economy; or reclaiming city-owned land that has historically formed part of Little Tokyo.

The selected visiting artists will be hosted by local arts organizations that will provide staff support, studio and workspace.

Established in 1884, Little Tokyo is Los Angeles’ second oldest neighborhood and the largest of four remaining Japantowns in the United States.  The neighborhood continues to serve as a cultural center for Japanese Americans across Southern California and the nation.

In its 133-year history Little Tokyo has withstood numerous acts of displacement including the forced removal and incarceration of people of Japanese descent during World War II and the demolition of whole tracts of housing, businesses, churches, and temples that occurred during the city’s urban renewal and civic center expansion of the 1950s through 1970s. Today, what remains of Little Tokyo is roughly nine square blocks. The latest threat to the cultural and historic identity of Little Tokyo comes in the form of the market rate housing boom in Downtown LA, which is making the neighborhood less accessible to individuals and families of all incomes. Commercial rents have also risen, forcing out longtime small business owners.

Throughout its history, Little Tokyo and its stakeholders have struggled to define their community, based on core values such as equality, justice, sustainability, and self-determination. Arts and culture has always been an integral part of this movement.

Through this residency, Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) seeks to further explore and deepen the relationship between arts and the pursuit of self-determination. To be fully immersed in Little Tokyo, participants will be embedded in local community organizations and will live at the historic Daimaru hotel—a single room occupancy hotel that is an important piece of Little Tokyo’s legacy.  Artists in this program will have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to Little Tokyo’s fight for self-determination while also spending three months deepening their own community practice.

Stipends/Other Support:

  • $4000 monthly stipend
  • Up to $500 RT in-state travel
  • Up to $8000 project budget

To fully appreciate and understand this residency offering, we encourage you to go to the Little Tokyo Service Center website:

Link to apply via CaFE:

Participating organizations are the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, the Japanese American National Museum, Sustainable Little Tokyo, and Visual Communications. The residency is designed to be an immersive experience in the Little Tokyo community. All of the artists will live at the Daimaru Hotel with a private or shared bath, shared kitchen, and many restaurants nearby. The +LAB Artist Residency will be a supportive cohort of the selected four artists in residence who will meet regularly with each other along with the collaborating organizations to research, conceptualize and manifest projects around the overarching theme of  “Community Control and Self Determination.”

Little Tokyo Service Center seeks artists whose creative practice reflects a desire to work collaboratively or within a community context; reflects an awareness of culture, socio-economic and political paradigms; has a demonstrated interest in subject matter addressing either the history of Japanese American communities or other communities of color; and is willing to be engaged with the residency program through their art making disciplines including: social and civic practice; sculpture and installation; visual art; photography, video or media; design; creative writing; movement and dance; music or performance traditions.

Artist Status: CV should demonstrate working professionally for at least five years

Facilities and Services:

  • Housing: Private single bedroom in Hotel Daimaru in downtown Los Angeles, with shared bath
  • Meals: Shared kitchen on third floor. Restaurants nearby.
  • For applicants: It is important to look at the hotel website when considering the residency. The Daimaru Hotel is an historic Single Room Occupancy Hotel owned by the Little Tokyo Service Corporation with deep roots in the Little Tokyo community. The Hotel has long-term residents from the Little Tokyo community, and some short-term rooms for visitors. It is clean and well maintained, with artwork in the halls and in the rooms. The rooms are basic, and the location is in the heart of Little Tokyo. It is a unique experience and will be an immersion in the community. This is an old building that is not ADA compliant. If an a accepted applicant needs ADA compliant accommodations we will discuss on a case by case basis.
  • Wi-Fi
  • Studio/Workspace provided by host organizations.

Residency Application Fee: $15.


  •  At least 21 years of age by application deadline
  • Not currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program
  • Able to participate in the residency for the full three month period
  • Must live and work in California
  • Must agree to live for the three month residency session at the Hotel Daimaru
  • CV should demonstrate working professionally for at least five years

Selection Process: Artists who are interested in this residency will submit an application to the +LAB Artist Residency in a competitive selection process. A panel of professionals from the Little Tokyo community and the program’s partner organizations will be responsible for the selection of artists. Decisions will be made on the work samples, as well as the applicant’s responses to the application questions, previous experience in community work, motivation to learn and participate in Little Tokyo, and clarity of the artist statement.

Finalists will have Skype interviews with the selection panel, providing an opportunity for them to share their work and ideas, and to ask questions of the panel. Following the interviews and final panel deliberations the selected artists will be notified by phone and written correspondence.

The Little Tokyo Service Center reserves the right to change and/or modify this program at any time in response to experience gained from its operation, and input from panelists, evaluators, external evaluations, artist award recipients and the community.

Little Tokyo Service Center
+LAB Artist Residency Program
231 E 3rd St # G106,
Los Angeles, CA 90013


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