Our Investigation and Discovery Strategy

The Neighborhoods Arts Profile strives to put arts and community data to work in order to improve arts and cultural services in Los Angeles. Since the onset of the project, the research and design of NAP has been based on a series of collaborative efforts between DCA and our City and regional partners. The NAP project team coordinated data sharing partnerships with City and regional agencies and organized meetings and public convenings. This collective research process, we believe, is the foundation for increasing the accessibility, visibility, and usability of the arts and cultural data ecosystem in the Los Angeles region.

The NAP research and development process consists of four steps.

1. Discovery

DCA convened the first Arts Datathon in spring 2017 in partnership with the LA County Arts Commission (LACAC). The Datathon brought together arts data owners and stewards in the region and in one day, crowd-sourced prototype ideas and public interest in data-informed strategies and programs with the mission to increase arts access. The event drew approximately 150 participants. DCA acquired and compiled a list of over thirty arts and community datasets about Los Angeles.

Through the data sharing partnership with LA County, the NAP team learned about the research and data collecting efforts behind the County’s LA Arts Education Profile and exchanged knowledge about data sources and research design practices. The NAP team also worked with the California Community Foundation to increase the searchability and usability of cultural data in the design of the countywide data tool LA Counts.

2. Design

User-centered design is at the core of the Neighborhood Arts Profile. The NAP project team led a design workshop with DCA staff representing each of the Department’s six divisions. Actively involving the users of this tool in the design process helps ensure the end result meets their needs and produce outcomes that are usable, relevant, and sustainable. The workshop goal was to determined which datasets to be included in the NAP with a focus on the phase 1 development of the Youth Arts Profile. The design workshop was built around the question: What research questions would you want NAP to help answer?

The participants came up with research questions including ones that are youth-focused. Analyzing the results of the workshop, the NAP project team narrowed down the data sources to be included in the Phase 1 development based on the research questions articulated by the workshop participants and the availability of the datasets.

3. Prototype

An iterative development of the NAP data model took place within the ArcGIS Online environment. These efforts included researching GIS web services available and applying principles of geodesign. User-centered principles drove the design of the User Experience (UX) and the User Interface (UI) of the tool. Visual assets including project logo were developed and iterated with NAP team and department staff.

4. Share

The Phase 1 prototype launch features the Youth Arts Profile web map. Coinciding with the launch is a blog post about the NAP tool and its potential affordance, making the tool and its research model available for public agencies, partners, and arts organizations. The technical aspects of the NAP creation are shared on Github.


Neighborhood Arts Profile is brought to you by:
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
201 N. Figueroa St., Ste. 1400, Los Angeles, CA 90012
213.202.5549  |

Putting arts and culture on the map