- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
Saturday, Jun. 18, 2005 at 9:39 AM
Los Angeles artist, Mark Vallen, wrote and posted the following article on his weblog concerning the closing of LA's Self Help Graphics. You can read more of his posts, at: www.art-for-a-change.com/blog
shg.jpg, image/jpeg, 338x244
From artist Mark Vallen's weblog: www.art-for-a-change.com/blog
Self Help Graphics Finished?
Friday, June 17, 2005
Self Help Graphics, East Los Angeles’ venerable institution dedicated to Chicano art, printmaking and grassroots community arts in general, was closed on June 7th, 2005. The artistic heart of Chicano LA beats no more. Amazingly enough, it was the organization’s own "Board of Directors" that closed the doors of SHG to the public, changed the locks on the building to bar staff and artists from entering, and locked-up the parking lot used by visitors and community members alike.
While I was aware that there were problems brewing at SHG, its closure comes as a complete shock to me, and to many other artists, activists, and community members. I have exhibited my artworks at SHG, and I have prints and other artworks in its Tienda Colores giftshop. But it’s not being deprived of a venue at which to exhibit that I find so upsetting, more importantly - the Chicano community in particular and Los Angeles in general, has lost one of its premiere arts institutions. Founded in the late 1960’s by Sister Karen Baccalero, Self Help Graphics quickly established itself as the center of artistic production for the people of East L.A., and has remained one of the most important community arts centers in the nation. Its Galeria Otra Vez has been a showcase for local and national artists, playing an essential role in bringing Chicano/Latino art into the mainstream. As a non-profit organization SHG offered several important youth art programs and writing workshops. They maintained a print making atelier and collection of hand made prints that rival any collection of Chicano art in the country, and their annual print exhibit and auction was always a huge community event. One of the most popular festivals in East Los Angeles was held at SHG, the annual Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead celebration. Based on the ancient Aztec revelry that honored the dead, the community event took place every November 2nd, with a procession of costumed participants that culminated in an art exhibit and craft fair replete with traditional music, entertainment and food. To say that Self Help Graphics helped to launch an artistic renaissance is an understatement.
While trouble was brewing just beneath the surface, it became apparent to all when Self Help’s executive director, Tomas Benitez, submitted his resignation on December 2004. His resignation was formally accepted by the "Board of Directors" on June 7th, who then made the unprecedented move of completely shutting down the institution. The mission of any board of directors is to protect, promote, nurture, and expand the body it presides over… not to kill it. No matter what difficulties they face, a proper Board of Directors will do everything within its power to preserve what has been entrusted to them. Which begs the question… just who are the people sitting on the Board of Directors for Self Help and what exactly have they done for the institution? If financial woes were the core problem faced by the board, why did they not make a direct appeal to the people, artists, foundations, and various supporters for help? If the Board of Directors had an understanding of the actual historic significance of Self Help Graphics, if they grasped the importance of such a cultural center, if they had any respect or empathy for the arts or for artists… in short, if they had any integrity, they would have done everything in their own power to keep Self Help Graphics afloat, up to and including using their own financial resources. Instead, they chose to strangle the life out of this most revered establishment.
Now is the time for action, an occasion for all who have ever benefited from the good works of Self Help Graphics to rise in its defense. It is the artists and people of Los Angeles who built SHG, we are the ones who kept it alive and vibrant, and we are the ones who will defend and resurrect it. The Board of Directors may have chained the gates and locked the doors, but the demise of Self Help Graphics will only come about when it is abandoned by the people and the artists. It is a crime to wrap a community arts center in chains, and the way forward is to sweep away the Board of Directors as it is presently constituted. The struggle for cultural democracy is "on" in Los Angeles, and all are invited to become active, as it’s said - "use it or lose it". Having taken the unwarranted and extreme measure of closing Self Help Graphics, the Board of Directors now wants a community meeting to "discuss the state of the organization", which seems an odd thing given that they’ve obviously made up their minds as to the direction of the institution. We should all take this opportunity to demand the immediate reopening of Self Help Graphics as well as the removal of its abysmal Board of Directors. The meeting will take place at Ave 50 Studio in Highland Park, Tuesday, June 28th, at 7:00 pm. (location: 131 N. Avenue 50 (Figueroa).
Report this post as:
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 4 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
Last of California's nuclear power plants is on its way out
Patrisse Khan-Cullors explains why Black Lives Matter
Women's March L.A., 2018
The case for US government sanctions on Israel
Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 4
Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 3
Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 2
Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 1
Women's Political Representation & Electoral Reform
Trial Starts for Woman with Erb’s Palsy Punched in Face Repeatedly by LAPD Officers
Dear District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Prosecute Killer Cops, Signed: Your Constituents
Great solidarity action today
More Local News...
Paraphysique de domination/scotomisation
legal blog - police surveillance
FBI Tracked Activists Involved With Black Lives Matter as They Travelled Across the U.S.
Important report on fbi atrocities
Questions for TSA after reports of laptop and phone searches on domestic flights
No, Robert Mueller And James Comey Aren’t Heroes
Baltimore cops and the rotten core of policing
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Six Months After Maria, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands Wait for Relief
Trump - Hard as Steel
Paraphysique de l'hologramme
Fbi crimes and cover-up by local authorities
what does a mexican driver's license look like?
One Way to Respond to Foreign Ops in Our Elections
Stratégie onirique du coup du monde
Tour Announcement: Whole Milk's California Cruising Tour 2018
50 years have passed since the Kerner & McCone Commissions
Crash on the Horizon
Caribbean Religious Leaders Call for Debt Relief in Face of Disasters
America's judiciary is in collapse
Under the Gun in Ireland
The Shortwave Report 03/16/18 Listen Globally!
Travail de l'idéologie
Crisis 2.0: A Policy for the 99%
How fbi corrupts cjs
When Will the Me Too Movement Take on the New Age?
La société du plagiat compilateur
12 Step Programs Free Me From Addiction
More Breaking News...