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Ford Theatre Foundation

| About | History | GoalsYouth Residencies | Community Partners | J.A.M. Sessions | Advisory Council |

"I know lots of families that have never been to a concert, period! It is the MOST incredible feeling to see them enjoy such magnificent performances at a beautiful place!"

"I knew that most of these shows would be a new experience to our students and to many of them it would be a once in a lifetime experience."

- Past Community Bridges Partners

The Community Bridges Program provides opportunities for underrepresented members of Los Angeles County to participate in events and programs, both on and off the stage, at the Ford Theatres. More generally, the program strives to build enthusiastic and engaged audiences for the performing arts and an increased appreciation for the diversity in Los Angeles.

Community Bridges is an outgrowth and expansion of the Ford's successful Latino Audience Initiative (LAI) launched in 2002, which helped connect Latino artists and audiences with the Ford. An LAI Advisory Council was created within that same year and helped the Ford achieve remarkable success, increasing Latino audience attendance from 13 percent to 26 percent and raising performing artist participation eight-fold to 60 events over a three year period.

Community Bridges is expanding its outreach efforts to connect Asian Pacific Islander, African American and Latino communities to the Ford, so that artists and audiences fully reflect the rich diversity of greater Los Angeles. For the long term, Community Bridges works to build a stronger community of performing arts participants within non-traditionally reached communities.

Youth Residencies (formerly Community Outreach Partnership Program) The Youth Residencies program is one means by which Community Bridges accomplishes its mission. This program provides access through exposure and education to the performing arts for underserved families in the Latino, African American and Asian Pacific Islander communities of Los Angeles. Qualified Ford performers conduct a series of performance-based classes in their discipline for students and families who are also provided with free tickets and transportation to attend Ford Amphitheatre performances.

By weaving together education and exposure, Youth Residencies makes the performing arts accessible to underserved youth in Los Angeles. Going beyond tangible workshops and tickets, the program has a deeper impact on the youth it serves. The program allows students to connect their personal heritage to a greater cultural relevance. Through sequential workshops, diverse performances and shared family experiences, the program provides life lessons such as tolerance, respect, and understanding of one’s own culture and of the diverse cultures of the larger community.

As Lynette White, Director of Advanced Learning of the Compton Unified School District, shared after her students received a master class from and tickets to see Imani Winds, a New York-based African American wind quintet, in 2008, "Seeing performances and performers who look like them is what gives the kids wings."


  • Teaching artists who conduct 12 to 20 hours total of workshops in a particular art discipline.
  • Transportation to and from a show at the Ford Amphitheatre for the students and their families.
  • Up to 60 tickets to a Ford Performance (subject to availability).

Community Bridges Partners

  • Arts for All
  • Pacific Asian Counseling Services

  • Self Help Graphics

  • Heart of Los Angeles
  • Little Tokyo Service Center
  • Los Angeles Music and Art School
  • Youth Mentoring Connection
  • Tia Chucha’s Café Cultural
  • Los Angeles Young Marines
  • Higher Opportunity Program for Education
    (HOPE @ UCLA)
  • Bresee Recreation Center
  • Mud Town Arts
  • Korean American Family Services Center
  • Las Palmas Park City of San Fernando
  • Search to Involve Pilipino Americans
  • Lemon Grove Recreation Center
  • Southeast Asian Community Alliance
  • Cambodian Association of America
  • Plaza de la Raza
  • J.A.M. (Jazzed and Motivated!) Sessions
    In 2008, as part of our efforts to continue engaging audiences in the performing arts, the Community Bridges Program launched an initiative to empower the general public to practice the arts and take ownership as artists in our community space. Through its free interactive J.A.M. Sessions, the Ford invites participants to share the stage with artists in dancing, singing and art-making at the Ford Amphitheatre. Similar offsite Community J.A.M. Sessions take place at partnering community parks and centers throughout Los Angeles County. These J.A.M. Sessions relate to performances in the Ford’s core season and are intended to enhance the entire artistic and cultural experience of Ford patrons. The initiative creates community by giving patrons a creative outlet for their own self expression and an increased sense of belonging at the Ford.

    "It was a wonderful experience for me and my children. Even my teenage son, who complained at first, opened up and participated. He learned to appreciate the arts a lot more."

    "More J.A.M. Sessions please!!! The Ford is the best place in L.A. for summer events. The venue allows for audience participation and that is a great way to make people want to participate in more events."

    - Past J.A.M. Session Participants

    Advisory Council

  • Luis Alfaro
    Playwright / Director
  • Tusann Kuo
    Vice-President / Taiwan Center of Los Angeles

  • Peter Kuo
    Public Relations / Marketing Manager
    East West Players
  • Richard Azurdia
  • Dan Kwong
    Independent Artist
  • Carlos C. Barron
    Los Angeles County Arts Commissioner
    Human Relations Council
    Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Johan Nairne Beckles
    Independent Cultural Arts & Media Consultant
  • Mark Lee
    Independent Producer
  • Tomás Benitez
    Los Angeles County Arts Commissioner
    Arts Consultant
  • Oliver Mayer
    Playwright / Professor
    University of Southern California
  • Jilly Canizares
    Executive Director
    Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture
  • Nobuko Miyamoto
    Artistic Director / Founder / Great Leap, Inc.
  • Theresa Chavez
    Artistic Director / About Productions
  • Rebecca Nevarez
    Manager / Latino Arts Network
  • Philip W. Chung
    Co-Artistic Director
    Lodestone Theatre Ensemble
  • Sharon Paulo
    Cultural Affairs Board of Commissioners
    Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Heritage Commission
  • Alison de la Cruz
    Company Administrator / About Productions
  • Rosylyn Rhee
    Assistant to the Director of School Programs The Music Center
  • Mike Eng
    Council Member / California State Assembly
  • Corazon Rios
    Booking & Marketing Manager
    Great Leap, Inc.
  • Evelina Fernandez
    Founding Member / Latino Theatre Company
  • Jon L. Rivera
    Artistic Director / Playwrights Arena
  • William Flores
    Arts Administrator / Latino Theatre Company
  • Diane Rodriguez
    Associate Director / Center Theatre Group
  • Prince Gomolvilas
  • Gema Sandoval
    Artistic Director / Danza Floricanto
  • Scoti Scott
    Independent Cultural Arts Producer & Consultant
  • Leigh Ann Hahn
    Director of Programming
    Grand Avenue Performances
  • Sri Susilowati
    Artistic Director / Dancing in the Margins
  • Joel Jacinto
    Cultural Program Director
    Kayamanan Ng Lahi Filipino Folk Arts
  • Nongyao Varanond
    Executive Director
    Thai Health and Information Service, Inc.
  • Traci Kato-Kiriyama
    Producer / Artist / Tuesday Night Café
  • Stefanie Wong-Lau
    Board Member / Cold Tofu Improvisation
  • Steve Kawamura
    Vice-President / Los Angeles County Asian American Employee Association


    Community Bridges is a program of the Ford Theatre Foundation and is supported with generous grants from The James Irvine Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Flourish Foundation.

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