First 5 LA’s vision is a future where every child prenatal to age 5 in Los Angeles County grows up healthy, protected and ready to succeed in school. Each month,
we will ask people who work with, care for, or advocate on behalf of young children and their families in L.A. County about how we can make this vison a reality.

As October is National Arts & Humanities Month
(NAHM), we wanted to ask prominent figures in Los Angeles County’s arts scene – from music to architecture – this question:

“How did the arts shape your childhood?”

“The arts opened my mind, stimulated my imagination,
and changed my world. The arts also defined my life’s mission to use music to inspire children of all ages to create better lives for themselves, to give them hope, and to make the world a
better place. Everything that I am today is because of my love of music which started in childhood.”

Gustavo Dudamel, Music & Artistic Director,
Los Angeles Philharmonic

“The arts have been very formative in my life, specifically as a young child. My mother is a Nicaraguan opera singer who sang at such
venues as the Palacio de Bellas Artes, in Mexico City and father was a Romanian exhibitions designer who worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and
the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA.)
My parents introduced me to music, painting, writing, museums and architecture at a very young age. I wouldn’t be the creative person I am
today without the exposure to the arts I had as a child.”

Peter Zellner, Principal at ZELLNERandCompany

“I didn’t have a lot of toys growing up. Learning how to create things with found materials was my way of playing and imagining new worlds
for myself. Art became my sacred space where I could be free and find my most confident self.”

Joannza Lo, Inner-City Arts Media Arts Teaching

“Being raised in Southeast Los Angeles, I took refuge in drawing, dancing, and playing an instrument when the opportunity presented itself. As a child, my mother
encouraged my participating in the arts, even though we had little resources and limited accessibility to arts education outside of school or extra-curriculum programs. I delighted at every opportunity
to view, create and learn about art and artists just as I still do today.”

Nathalie Sánchez, Artist, Educator and Arts Advocate