Empowerment: Maxine+Bella, Call for Spoken Word and Dance/Movement Artists


Eight $2,500 commissions


City of Los Angeles Performing Arts Division


Mar 19, 2024 - 11:59 pm




A complete application consists of answering all the questions below and submitting the required documentation to julia.chavez@lacity.org by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 19, 2024. The subject line should read Empowerment Application [Your Name].


The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Performing Arts Division (DCA|PERF)’s EMPOWERMENT Initiative returns for its second year. Honoring women artists and activists who have impacted and redefined the human experience, EMPOWERMENT is a festival-style weekend of performances, social action, creative activities, workshops, and documentary screenings. EMPOWERMENT will honor Choreographer Bella Lewitzky and Writer Maxine Hong Kingston as part of its investment in the North Hollywood (NoHo) Arts District. The events will take place from April 26-28, 2024 at the Lankershim Arts Center.


DCA|PERF is offering eight, $2,500 commissions to spoken word and dance/movement artists for the purpose of presenting original spoken word or dance pieces that celebrate and/or are inspired by the work of Bella Lewitzky and/or Maxine Hong Kingston.

The commission is to be used for artists’ fees, rehearsal space, music rights & composition, and other expenses directly related to the creation and performance of the proposed work. Artists groups will receive reimbursement for costumes and/or props upon submission of receipts/paperwork, up to $500 per group. Please note commission payments will be made after the completion of the project and may take up to seven (7) months to be disbursed.


●       March 8 – March 19, 2024 — Application period. Late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered.

●       March 26, 2023 — Awardees announced.

●       End of March — Selected Artists meeting (virtual, approximately 1 hour)

●       April 2024 — Rehearsal space available at the Lankershim Arts Center. Dates/times scheduled in collaboration with the selected artists.

●       Tuesday, April 23 — 5pm-9pm; 30 minute time slots for spacing & lighting

●       Wednesday, April 24 — 6pm call time; 7:30pm Dress Rehearsal


●       Friday, April 26 — 7:30pm performance at Lankershim Arts Center (5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601)

●       Saturday, April 27 — 7:30pm performance at Lankershim Arts Center

●       Sunday, April 28 — 6pm performance at Lankershim Arts Center


Only one (1) application may be submitted per artist or arts group. Artists are encouraged to propose works that promote equitable payment of artists.

Individuals, collectives, and non-profit organizations are welcome to apply. Pieces are not required to be brand new, nor created or performed exclusively by female-identifying artists.

Dance works can be solos, duets, or small ensembles up to nine (9) minutes in length.

The performance area is approximately 28’ W x 18’D. The wooden floor is not sprung, but will have black marley laid.

Spoken word sets can be four (4) to six (6) minutes in length, performed by individuals or small groups of artists. A maximum of three microphones will be provided.

Recipients of 2024-2025 Grants from DCA are not eligible to apply.

Artists presented previously at EMPOWERMENT artists are also not eligible to apply.

Preference will be given to nonprofit artists or arts organizations based in the NoHo area or Los Angeles City Council District 2. To determine your council district, visit https://neighborhoodinfo.lacity.org, enter your physical street address in the search field, and click on “FIND.” In your search result, you should see your Los Angeles City Council District number and the LA City Council Member’s name listed under Elected Officials. Adjacent districts and communities will also be considered.

A complete application consists of answering all the questions below and submitting the required documentation to julia.chavez@lacity.org by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 19, 2024. The subject line should read Empowerment Application [Your Name].


The peer review panel will assign applicant scores based on the following criteria

Organization of Proposal: Five (5) points

–      All required materials submitted before the deadline in one organized email

–      Application is professional, detailed, and clearly well thought out with appropriate work samples provided

Artist/Organization Location: Three (3) points

–      Based in City of LA Council District 2 — Three points

–      Based in neighboring Council Districts (4, 6, and 7) — Two points

–      Based in LA City or County — One point

Artistic Practice & Quality: Fifteen (15) points

–      The applicant demonstrates a commitment to the art form selected.

–      The artist clearly articulates a mission/vision for their work that aligns with the

EMPOWERMENT Initiative’s goals.

–      The application exhibits artistic integrity and quality.

Experience making performance work about empowerment: Fifteen (15) points

–      Applicant demonstrates a clear, long-term commitment to making work about

gender equality/equity and/or overall social empowerment.

Proposed work: Ten (10) points

–      Proposed performance piece is clearly articulate, interesting, exciting, and dynamic.

Connection to Bella Lewitsky and/or Maxine Hong Kingston: Five (5)

–      NOTE: It is not required that the proposed piece is directly about Lewitzky or Kingston, but pieces with themes that align with their work (see above bios for reference and/or research these individuals further!) will score higher in this criteria.


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