The Los Angeles Emerging Arts Leaders group was one of the first—if not the first—in the country. Around 1999, a group including Leslie Ito (now President/CEO at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center), Danielle Brazell (now Executive Director at Arts for LA), Sofia Klatzker-Miller (now Senior Advocacy and Development Manager at the Los Angeles County Arts Commission), and Leigh Ann Hahn (Director of Programming, Grand Performances) started meeting to provide one another with professional development and networking opportunities. Around the same time, Americans for the Arts became interested in the idea of Emerging Leader networks, and tapped Leslie for the first Emerging Leader Council.

EAL/LA was revitalized in 2005/2006 by John Arroyo, who was then working for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. He was able to incorporate basic network administration into his paid job time, and was elected to the Emerging Leaders Council in 2006.

Around 2007/2008, John Arroyo left to pursue higher education and EAL/LA adopted Network Theory for governance and programming. The “Core Hub” scheduled meetings, and additional Hubs, such as Development, Mixers, and a Book Club Hub, created programs. EAL/LA also began hosting annual Creative Conversations and continued holding regular meetings. In 2009, Letitia Ivins was elected to the Emerging Leader Council, and in 2010 Camille Schenkkan became the fourth EAL/LA member to join the national council.

In 2009, the network was invited to apply for funding from the James Irvine Foundation to expand their services and formalize leadership. EAL/LA received funding and has recently completed a strategic planning process. The Strategic Planning Report can be downloaded here: EALLA_SPdoc