Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA recently kicked off in Southern California with a host of arts programming and exhibitions. For some institutions, though, this year’s theme, which stands for “Los Angeles / Latin America,” is a chance to restate their identity and cement their place within Los Angeles’ cultural history.
In the following radio story, Ampersand reporter Leah Rosenzweig talks to Self Help Graphics spokesperson, Jennifer Cuevas, and associate director, Betty Avila, ahead of the East L.A. art center’s VIP opening for their PST-affiliated show: Día De Los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past, Present and Future.
Although born in Boyle Heights in 1970, Self Help Graphics had, for the better part of 30 years, made a home in Lincoln Heights. Even after the Lincoln Heights building received a historic landmark designation, it began to be too expensive to stay.
So the board scouted a newer, more affordable spot in Boyle Heights.
What they could not have predicated, though, was just how much Boyle Heights would begin to gentrify and the incredible amount of community unrest that would begin to ensue.
Through the “Dia De Los Muertos” exhibition, Self Help Graphics reminds the local community of the important role they played, and have played since their inception, in revolutionizing the way the Day of the Dead is celebrated and recognized in Los Angeles.
And in doing so, they help us to see how they continue to to impact Los Angeles — not simply through the arts, but with celebration.