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Race & The Creative Economy

Highlights from the Event

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, California has suffered a devastating blow to the economic growth experienced by the Creative Economy over the last decade. In the summer, the killing of George Floyd raised awareness of, in very stark ways, the inequalities and social injustices disproportionately faced by Black people in this country. The gap in unemployment rates between Black and White people is the largest it’s been in five years (source). The number of Black-owned businesses has dropped 40% during the pandemic, more than any other racial group (source).

Creative Economy EventOver the summer, social media campaigns and energy behind new initiatives to amplify the work of BIPOC creatives have endeavored to undo decades of underrepresentation and address more inclusive communities, asking: What can we do to empower talent, particularly BIPOC artists and designers, in cultural and creative industries?

Starting in 2007, Otis College of Art and Design has published the Otis Report on the Creative Economy. In advance of the 2021 edition, this virtual panel will shine a light on the impact of COVID-19 on Los Angeles’ Creative Economy and how Los Angeles can address sustainable racial equity and inclusivity within these important sectors.

Event Sponsors include:

City National Bank Mark Ridley Thomas - County of Los Angeles




  • Welcome from Charles Hirschhorn, President of Otis College of Art and Design
  • Opening Remarks from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. County Board of Supervisors 2nd District 
  • Presentation on the Current State of the Creative Economy by Adam Fowler, Beacon Economics
  • Panel Discussion moderated by Dakota Ortiz, Director of Social Impact at Endeavor
  • Q&A

This virtual event took place on Thursday, October 22 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thank you to those who joined the conversation. You can watch a recording of the full event here.

Download a one-page snapshot of the Creative Economy from Beacon Economics here.