LEIA had big plans for 2020. By this point in the year, our goals were to have a membership program in effect, to have Chapter Houses beyond our home base in Southern California, and to be headed towards our first Board Election.
But like most everyone else in the world, the pandemic has drastically altered our plans. As a volunteer-run organization, run primarily by artists, we’ve all found our lives and practices disrupted in ways we could never have anticipated.
Our first reaction was to establish the Emergency Relief Grant, which channeled resources from those in the community who had something to spare to those who had pressing needs. Through direct GoFundMe donations and revenue shares from artists who produced work, we distributed over $3000 worth of grants at the start of the pandemic.
Since then, we’ve been waiting for a timeline that would give the green light for immersive and experiential creators to get back to the kind of groundbreaking work they are known for. That timeline, sadly, has not appeared. While there are signs of incredible adaptation — from the virtual experiential work that has evolved online, to the drive-in style work that is on the horizon for October — we know that across the United States, the overall situation is still uncertain.
With that in mind, we are holding off on making any major decisions regarding a membership drive, LEIA elections, 2021 programs, and other matters until the Founding Committee can gather in mid-November when the shape of things to come will (hopefully) have more clarity.
This does not mean that the Founding Committee is idle, or that active members (who serve on committees) or potential members should think that there is not work to be done. Instead now is the time for us to discover just where the greatest good can be done and to identify what levers of change lay within our grasp regardless of available resources.
Of particular interest remains those who have either already begun to organize their regions, or who are interested in organizing local creators in the United States outside of Southern California. (A note to our international brothers and sisters: our mandate does not fall outside the legal territory of the United States, but we are always glad to hear from those who are organizing in solidarity.)
Our hope is that, come mid-November. a clear view of 2021 will be available to us, and that timelines for voting membership, Chapter Houses, elections, and new initiatives can be put into place and communicated to all around the holidays. So that we can start 2021 off with a renewed sense of purpose.
To reach us, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
– The LEIA Founding Committee
We know that members of the community have a lot of questions and concerns about what the guidelines on staging work will be like once it is deemed safe to reopen, and what “safe to reopen” actually means.
LEIA will hold a Town Hall (informational session and Q/A) via the newly opened LEIA Discord Server to discuss the latest news regarding the safety guidelines being set forth by the State of California for various businesses, underlying issues with re-opening, and action steps for the creative community in both the short and long term.
Our agenda will include a short presentation on the current climate, an open Q/A, and space/time for breakout conversations.
While this session is targeted to the Southern California region, immersive creators from other regions are welcome to join in the discussion.
The Meeting will start at 7PM, May 27th on the Presentation Stage in the Main Hall of the LEIA Town Hall Discord. The house will be open at 6:30 PM, and people are welcome to gather in the General chat channel or the Lobby at that time.
RSVP to this event via email (email@example.com) to be sent a Discord invite.
In an effort to help address the impacts of lost revenue due to the closure of immersive/interactive experiences as a preventive measure to control the spread of COVID-19, LEIA (League of Experiential and Immersive Artists) has decided to provide a centralized location where artists may apply for modest grants.
While we hope to provide a model for other organizations providing direct relief to affected artists, at this time the founding chapter of LEIA will be focusing its efforts on the greater LA area.
Emergency grants to defray specific costs/shortfalls incurred by cancelations, postponements, and complications of COVID-19 will be awarded in amounts of up to $250 per individual applicant.
In order to qualify for emergency assistance, applicants must demonstrate involvement in an immersive/experiential production in the greater LA area that has been affected by closures/delays due to COVID-19 .
Applicants must indicate the specific need that the grant will address (rent, utilities, etc.)
Grant recipients will be chosen from among qualifying applicants via lottery and awarded on a rolling basis. Grants will awarded weekly, starting one week after the fund has enough resources for a full grant, and will continued to be awarded until all funds have been awarded. Applications will be due every Tuesday at noon, and awarded on Fridays. Any eligible applications that have not been selected will roll over to the next selection period: there is no need to reapply.
To apply, enter your information here:
The Review Committee will need:
The Org/production impacted
Evidence of postponement/cancellation
Amount requested (up to $250)
Need that the funds will address
Anything else we should know?
Where does my donation go?
LEIA will collect 2% of donation fees up to a cap of $500 in order to offset the cost of taxes and web hosting fees.
Gofundme collects 5% of donations, and payment processors take 2.9% along with $0.30 per donation.
90% of your donation goes directly to affected artists.
Who is eligible to receive assistance?
All members of the immersive creator/designer/performer community who have been impacted by precautions regarding COVID-19 in greater Los Angeles are eligible to apply (note: members of the LEIA founding board are ineligible to receive grant money from this fundraiser)
What if I need more than $250?
In an effort to create a positive impact for the largest number of artists with finite resources, we have chosen to limit the dollar amount for grants at this time- we encourage you to look for other relief opportunities through the mutual aide thread on the Everything Immersive facebook group.
What happens if you raise more money than you use?
Any leftover money will be stored in a standing disaster fund in case of ongoing need or future emergencies.
Applications to the LEIA Emergency grant are strictly confidential and available only to a small Review Committee. The Review Committee currently comprises LEIA Board members Matthew Bamberg-Johnson and Monica Miklas. Should the composition of this committee change, an announcement will be posted on leia.design/blog.
To the immersive creative community,
The proactive response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic by immersive and experiential creators and producers have made us proud to be part of this community.
We know that difficult choices and real sacrifices are being made by many of you in order to protect the most vulnerable among us, and to ease the burden on our nation’s health care system as it braces for what may be an unprecedented event.
We do not know how long the current situation — restrictions on public gatherings, closed theaters, canceled projects — will last but we do know that now is the time to take action:
Community Discussions: Now is the time for facilitated discussions to address problems like lost wages, adopt standards around sanitation, and to prepare for welcoming guests back into our work once the current crisis has passed. We also want to keep the community together in a less formal way, and will be establishing online “Office Hours” events. The first of these Office Hours will be March 16th at 7:00PM PDT. Platform to be announced.
Financial Aid: We have begun work on a campaign to address the short term financial needs of artists and artisans in our community who will be in financial distress because of postponements and closures. Please, track your lost gigs and wages.
Back to Work Messaging: When the time of greatest crisis is over, audiences will be hungry for in-person interaction. We will be ready to help lead a public campaign on behalf of immersive and experiential creators to usher in the “new normal” and create audience awareness of and access to experiences that will be more important than ever.
We call upon our community to continue working together in the spirit of collaboration and creativity that underpins all immersive and experiential projects.
No one knows what the full impact — economic, social, personal — of the current crisis will be. However, we believe that together we can not only blunt that impact in our community, but take this as an opportunity to create an even stronger foundation for immersive and experiential work for years to come.
If you are interested in taking part in our organizing efforts, including facilitating discussions, donating, or in our public relations campaign please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LEIA Founding Committee
In partnership with Bunglaow '77, the League of Experiential and Immersive Artists hosts its first-ever Fringe Brunch Town Hall, a celebration of immersive stories and experiences set to premiere at The Hollywood Fringe Festival in June.
On June 8, join us for engaging conversation with Fringe creators and facilitators from 11:00am-3:00p.
Admission includes a delicious mimosa from our mimosa bar, snacks, and curated programming. Programming takes place on the top of the hour at 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm.
Open to the public; capacity is limited.
Just $10. Purchase Tickets Here.
Join fellow members of the immersive and experiential scene to reflect on the 2nd Annual Immersive Design Summit. Panelists will recap and review key themes from the summit and invite group discussion of current trends in the industry. Open to everyone.
LEIA committee members will also share updates on the state of the scene in LA.
Where: Thymele Arts
Doors at 7PM
Programming starts at 7:30
Wraps at 10pm
$5 at the door, cash or Venmo
Concessions available on-site
Join creator Justin Denton and actors Michael Bates and Haylee Nichele as they talk about their process developing CHAINED: A VICTORIAN NIGHTMARE, the VR/theatre hybrid that is currently running in LA.
Justin brings years of experience making VR and mixed reality work for Hollywood studios and brands, while Haylee brings her craft from working with Punchdrunk and Third Rail Projects, and Michael with LA’s own Speakeasy Society.
Plus: we will meet and mingle and answer any burning questions you might have.
Where: Thymele Arts
Doors at 7PM
Programming starts at 7:30
Town Hall/Mingle by 9
Wraps at 10pm
$5 at the door, cash or Venmo
Concessions available on-site
This December LEIA is proud to present a workshop from Marissa Nielsen-Pincus and Tara O’Con, veteran members of Third Rail Projects who have worked with the company through the development of their beloved productions.
While both Marissa and Tara regularly teach in New York City, this December they will come out to Los Angeles for a weekend long workshop — Friday the 14th through Sunday the 16th — with a limited class size.
It’s our first intensive in our workshop series, taught by two of the most experienced immersive performers alive.
More information on the CLASSES PAGE.
This past year we’ve learned a lot more about the political realities of Los Angeles than any group of artists ever really wanted to. Not the philosophical and cultural stuff — that’s great — but the nuts and bolts. How the machine really works.
The good news is that we have learned how to be a more effective advocate for the interests of the community, and the even better news is that doing that directly involves the community as a whole: creators, producers, and enthusiasts.
As it turns out, a few voices banded together can have a big impact in the city if they’re in the right place.
To that end, we’re building a database of community members and linking them to the LA City Council Districts they live and work in. We don’t need addresses, just names, council districts, and emails.
When there’s an action in a council district you live or work in, we may contact you to reach out to your City Council member. That’s it.
Yes, this is very ninth-grade civics class. Shockingly: it also works.
This may not seem like much, but this is the fundamental building block of our political strength. Please add yourself to the database and share it with your friends who are active in the community. The time is coming soon when we will need your help to make LA a friendlier place for immersive projects of all sizes.
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE DATABASE!
Getting productions insured is one of those necessary things that can be unnecessarily frustrating.
The bad news is that not many event insurers know that immersive experiences exist, let alone how to classify them. We know that is going to change in time, but in the meanwhile a lot of producers find them selves talking to people who just don't understand.
The good news is that every time someone successfully ensures an event, we are all one step closer to a world where getting insurance for an immersive or experiential work is no different from getting insurance for any other live event.
To that end, we are spearheading a crowd sourcing effort on the community’s experiences with getting insurance. Our hope is to take the hard earned lessons of trailblazing producers and turn it into a knowledge base which the community may access.
This survey is the first step in that process. You’ll find some of the questions quite detailed, because we’re looking for a realistic, not idealized, vision of what’s going on out there. We are asking producers to share their insight into the insurance process, so that those who follow may benefit from their wisdom.
Note: any information you provide is for internal use and aggregation purposes only. Individual responses will not be shared with anyone outside of LEIA’s Outreach and governing committees without prior consent.