Viva el Arte, Los Angeles

Five LA Art Institutions Have Formed Latinx Arts Alliance

SPARC LA at sunset 2020

SPARC LA at Sunset, mural by Lapiztola. Photo courtesy of Instagram, @sparcinla

Latinx Arts Alliance is a powerful collaboration between five distinguished institutions who represent and nurture Latinx art in the Los Angeles area. "We all cover different aspects of Latinx art," says John Echeveste, CEO of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, (and co-founder of Latinx Arts Alliance), "lending a broad perspective to what's happening locally". At the center of the project is their website, which provides easy access to information on each location's current exhibitions and hosts a robust calendar of upcoming events.

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes 2018

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

"We're the new kid on the block," says Echeveste of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. At 10-years-old, it's the youngest of the five institutions that form LAA. Located near Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, the art and cultural center makes its home at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, known as the city's birthplace. History is at the core of its mission. Since its inception, the museum has hosted exhibitions dedicated to the actor Anthony Quinn, mariachi musicians and the East L.A. Walkouts. They've also shown the work of influential L.A. artists like Barbara Carrasco and the late Gilber "Magu" Luján. In early 2020, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes opened two exhibitions: "Afrolatinidad: Mi Casa, My City" and "Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form." Both of those exhibitions are available to view online, and also extended so that people can view them in person once the museum reopens.

SPARC LA, Social and Public Art Resource Center 2020

SPARC (Social and Public Art Resource Center) LA in Venice. Courtesy of Instagram, @sparcinla

SPARC (Social and Public Art Resource Center)

Founded in 1976 by artists Judith F. Baca and Christina Schlesinger and filmmaker Donna Deitch, SPARC has been at the forefront of merging art and activism since its inception. Their first major project was Baca's half-mile mural "The Great Wall of Los Angeles," a monumental undertaking in the Valley that brought in a hundreds-strong team of artists, historians, local youth and others working over a period of years to complete. In addition to exhibitions at their Venice headquarters, SPARC remains engaged in art on local streets. In 2008, they launched the Mural Rescue Program, which maintains and restores these important pieces of public art.

Self Help Graphics & Art

Self Help Graphics

Since its formation in the early 1970s, Self Help Graphics has been deeply engaged in working local communities through its workshops, exhibitions and other events. The Boyle Heights-based studio and gallery is home to a renowned printmaking program and takes art-making into public spaces with its Barrio Mobile Art Studio. Self Help Graphics is also well known for its Dia de los Muertos events, annual print fair and its holiday marketplace. While in-person events have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SHG has continued its educational mission with online workshops for both youth and adults and virtual exhibitions like the group show "The Very Very Very Long Day."

Oaxacalifornia Murals at MoLAA 2020

"Oaxacalifornia" by Tlacolulokos Collective, Murals, Permanent Collection at MoLAA, courtesy of Instagram, @molaa

Property of Discover Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of Museum of Latin American Art

Museum of Latin American Art

Located in Long Beach, Museum of Latin American Art is the only museum in the United States that focuses on modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art. There's an incredible amount of diversity in the work that MOLAA shows. Last year marked the opening of "Arte, Mujer, y Memoria: Arpilleras From Chile," which showed the hand sewn art of mostly anonymous women that depicted the Pinochet Regime. In October, the museum will present "Floating Timeline," an exhibition from stop motion animator Quique Rivera. MOLAA has been presenting their exhibitions online, with audio guides, and they offer virtual group tours as well.

Vincent Price Art Museum Gift shop 2020

Vincent Price Art Museum Gift Shop

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
VPAM, Exhibit 2018

Vincent Price Art Museum, Exhibit 2018

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Vincent Price Art Museum

In 1957, Vincent Price and his wife Mary Grant donated 90 works from their own art collection to East Los Angeles Community College, establishing what would become one of the hidden gems of Los Angeles County. Today, the Vincent Price Art Museum has a collection of over 9000 pieces and a home on the ELAC campus that includes seven art galleries. Their programming includes exhibitions from their permanent collection as well as shows from both student and established artists. While the museum is currently closed, VPAM has launched an artist interview series on Instagram.

The goals of the Latinx Arts Alliance go well beyond updating locals and visitors about events. "We would like to see more of the works created by Latinx artists in non-Latino institutions too," says Echeveste. "We think that this is our time, this is our moment, for Latinx art in Los Angeles," he continues. "We think, too, that this would lay the groundwork for even more exposure on a national level as well too." Visit the Latinx Arts Alliance website for updates, current programming and to make a donation to the individual museums and cultural centers.