The Arts and Sciences Shine in Los Angeles

By Anne Tria Wise

Phi Beta Kappa recognized Los Angeles as an Arts & Sciences City of Distinction on October 17. The award showcases metropolitan areas with exceptional artistic vitality, cultural vibrancy, and scientific engagement. 


Danielle Brazell, Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) General Manager, accepted the award on the city’s behalf during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

“We are so appreciative of this award recognizing that creativity is the lifeblood of LA. DCA honors and celebrates our city’s cultural and artistic diversity,” said Brazell. “We are committed to supporting, showcasing, and advocating for the arts and the artists contributing both to the economy in LA and the vitality of LA.”

The event acknowledged the outstanding contributions of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs to this municipal effort. “A city’s cultural vibrancy doesn’t just happen. It takes careful planning, financial support, and public commitment to its importance,” said ΦBK Secretary/CEO Frederick M. Lawrence. “We applaud DCA not only for its cutting-edge programs that appeal to residents and visitors alike, but also for its equitable grants program, accessible public programs, and deep commitment to providing cultural opportunities for all.”

The event also awarded $5,000 to four exemplary local organizations that build creative exchanges with new and diverse audiences in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, or mathematics.

The recipients are WriteGirl, The Citizen Science Program at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance, and the TOPS Science Outreach Program at Occidental College. 

You can learn more about the recipients at You can also view five-minute videos from (En)Lightning Talks LA on topics ranging from megaquakes to medieval witches.

Photo (left to right): DCA Assistant General Manager Daniel Tarica, DCA Community Arts Division Director Leslie Thomas, ΦBK President Catherine White Berheide, Cultural Affairs Commission President Charmaine Jefferson, DCA General Manager Danielle Brazell, ΦBK Secretary/CEO Frederick M. Lawrence, DCA Director of Marketing and Development Will Caperton y Montoya.

Anne Tria Wise is the Director of the National Arts & Sciences Initiative at Phi Beta Kappa. She can be reached at (202) 745-3230 or