6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Meet Local Hero Nominee: Ben Caldwell

Support Provided By
Ben Caldwell looks at the camera wearing a black jacket and light cap.

Nominee Name: Ben R. Caldwell
Title: Co-Founder
Organization/Business: KAOS Network
Website: KAOS Network
Nominator: Charmaine Jefferson

“Since 1984, Ben Caldwell has provided consistent creativity, training and community leadership in photography, media arts and technology for youth, families and aspiring artists in Leimert Park. Now, even during a pandemic, he continues to reinvent and advocate for approaches that not only capture and document the equity issues of this moment but to consider how economic collaborations between the Leimert Park neighbors and business communities can build opportunities for growth and sustainable security.”

— Charmaine Jefferson, Nominator

About Ben Caldwell

Considered one of the region’s cultural leaders, Ben Caldwell is an artist, director, educator, independent filmmaker and mentor, offering professional advice and support through his KAOS Network media lab and open mic hip-hop workshops. Caldwell grew up assisting his grandfather, who projected movies at a small theater in New Mexico and developed a passion for the visual arts. After studying film at UCLA, he spent the early 1980s teaching film and video at Howard University in Washington, D.C. before returning in 1984 to Southern California’s historic Leimert Park neighborhood to create an independent studio for video production and experimentation. In what eventually became known as the KAOS Network, it remains the only organization of its kind in South Central Los Angeles that offers courses in video production, animation, web development, and even video teleconferencing and the Internet. Caldwell served as a full-time faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) for 15 years and became a major force at the award-winning CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP), a co-curricular program of CalArts, which offers free after-school and school-based arts programs for youth ages 4-18 in every discipline taught at the Institute. Always an inspiration, Caldwell created the now highly regarded Leimert Art Walk and has been connecting youth to art through technology for decades. Having survived past economic recessions and neighborhood gentrification, Caldwell continues to provide support for his community in the present moment and advocating for the arts in the future.

More on Ben Caldwell

  • Watch the trailer for “Sankofa City” below, a community design project envisioning concepts and prototypes for the future of urban technology, based in Leimert Park. This ptoject was a collaboration between Ben Caldwell's Kaos Network and the USC division of Media Arts Practice and the Annenberg Innovation Lab. 
  • You can also check out more about the project on the Sankofa City Facebook page.
"Sankofa City" Teaser/Test shoot

  • “Sankofa City” Main Characters and Cast: Denise Yolén as Nina Neau, Olivia “Just Liv” Walker as Xango, Sydatris Thompson as Alma “Machina” Kalifa and Rashan Cummings as Joshua Kalifa. Watch the full film below.
Sankofa City

Support Provided By
Read More
(LEFT) ER nurse Adwoa Blankson-Wood pictured near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, wearing scrubs and a surgical mask; By October, Blankson-Wood was required to don an N-95 mask, protective goggles, a head covering and full PPE to interact with patients.

As A Black Nurse at The Pandemic's Frontlines, I've Had A Close Look at America's Racial Divisions

Most of the time, I was able to frame conversations within the context of the virus and not race, telling patients that we were doing our best, trying to be the heroes they kept calling us. But I was dying inside .... It was easier to find solace in my job, easier to be just a nurse, than to be a Black nurse.
The City of L.A. is staging a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic in Chinatown for senior citizens, in an attempt to improve access to the vaccine among vulnerable populations.

Long-Awaited COVID-19 Vaccine Access Expanding in L.A. County Monday

Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 vaccination effort will expand vastly Monday, but health officials said today those workers will have to be patient as vaccine supplies remain limited and staff are trained to ensure only eligible people receive shots.
Photo from above of people waiting in line on a sidewalk.

COVID-19 Pushes Many Indian Employers to Grant Informal Employees New Work Benefits

Bank accounts, housing and fixed wages among new benefits being offered to some of India's vast army of informal workers.