KCET, Southern California’s home for award-winning public media programming, today announced SOUTHLAND SESSIONS, a new weekly series that will allow the Los Angeles community to experience their regional arts and cultural institutions in this unique moment, when attending in-person, cultural events is not an option. As regional artists adapt to an uncertain future due to the current pandemic and the influence of social uprisings across the country, the new broadcast and digital initiative draws together prominent voices from around Southern California for up-close, virtual “sessions.”
Every Wednesday, viewers will witness artists inspire audiences with a front-row seat to the creative process, guided by the community’s arts leaders. The new series kicks off with a conversation among key cultural leaders from around the city, working together to discuss how arts and culture are essential to Angelenos. SOUTHLAND SESSIONS premieres on Wednesday, July 15 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET and will run through the end of the year.
SOUTHLAND SESSIONS will engage viewers across Southern California who are staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus – an order that has changed the lives of everyone, and impacted the futures of auditoriums, concert halls, and art galleries across the region. The series will vary in format on a weekly basis showcasing a variety of artistic communities and programs across the city. KCET has collaborated with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture to identify much of the new content and themes included in the series.
Episodes will feature diverse arts and cultural events, including DCA’s City of Los Angeles (COLA) Individual Artist Fellowships, Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival, and the annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival. The format will be a compilation of artist disciplines including music, dance, theater, spoken word, and poetry, capturing the immediacy of the region’s artists’ response to COVID-19 and the racial as well as social injustices that are happening across the city and the nation.
In addition to the conversation with civic arts leaders across Los Angeles, upcoming episodes will feature the tradition of mariachi music in Los Angeles, the diverse dance community of the city, and a personal tour of DCA’s COLA program with local artists exhibiting their work through at-home interviews and virtual studio visits.
Several of the episodes will be produced in partnership with community cultural leaders including online cultural trendsetting radio station dublab, avant-garde opera company The Industry, artist/designer/writer Rosten Woo, San Fernando Valley’s performing arts center The Soraya on the CSUN campus, Orange County’s Pacific Symphony and many more. Later this year, KCET will put out a call for regional artists to submit their own content for future episodes.
The vibrancy and dynamism of L.A.’s arts and cultural scene will also be reflected online through a robust digital hub where viewers can find the creative community’s most engaging, uplifting content. Musical performances, dance presentations, poetry readings, art exhibitions, and more will be featured. Alongside these virtual presentations, local culture journalists will keep readers abreast of all things related to arts and culture in the time of pandemic and protest through artist profiles, gallery interviews, feature pieces, and arts news briefs.
The SOUTHLAND SESSIONS digital destination will also include resources and how-to’s detailing financial support and advice from other artists with ways to connect to gallerists, curators, and more. The city’s creative community will also have an opportunity to show their work to a broader audience through KCET’s call for submissions, which can be found at kcet.org/SouthlandSessions.
Guided by the various art forms and themes highlighted in the new Wednesday night programming, KCET will also provide virtual audience engagement opportunities including live streaming events, discussions, arts classes/demonstrations, and more.
The new series SOUTHLAND SESSIONS will launch a robust Wednesday night of programming for KCET designed to highlight the resilience of the arts community. Under the theme “Create Wednesday,” the schedule will also feature popular Arts and Culture programs that have previously aired on KCET and PBS that include KCET’s Emmy award-winning Original arts series ARTBOUND and student film showcase FINE CUT as well as America’s preeminent performing arts television series from PBS, GREAT PERFORMANCES. Like the new local series SOUTHLAND SESSIONS, the programming lineup for the night will feature diverse artistic innovation across all media and disciplines to celebrate art as an essential service.
The goal of the new programming lineup is to highlight Southern California as home to one of the most important cultural communities in the world. In addition to providing healing and solace to many, Los Angeles’ arts and cultural scene is a major source of income to millions in the local economy. Art and culture in Los Angeles is indelibly interwoven into the fabric of Southern California’s economic landscape and has an undeniably important role in shaping not only the culture of the region but also acts as a powerful economic driver for the state and the rest of the nation.
For updates, follow @KCET and #SouthlandSessions and #CreateWednesday on social media.