Over five years ago, LACMA established a partnership with the Compton Unified School District, offering artist-led workshops and professional development opportunities. We also began offering free art workshops to families at the Compton Library and at the LACMA Art Studio located in Lueders Park. Last year, we expanded our programming to adults and have deepened our engagement with the community through On-Site: Neighborhood Partnerships with the Los Angeles County Museum, a program funded by The James Irvine Foundation.
We’d like to share some of the many creative programs that have emerged this summer.
Landscape Painting Exhibition
In 2017, LACMA partnered with the East Rancho Dominguez Community Center to offer art workshops for senior citizens. The bi-monthly classes provide the seniors with an introduction to an array of materials, techniques, and topics, all of which are connected to LACMA’s exhibitions and collection.
During the month of August, a weekly landscape painting class was offered, looking at the work of the the Hudson River School, the Impressionists, and abstract artists, which resulted in an exhibition of rich and colorful landscapes, drawing attention to the many talented individuals at the center.
Each workshop is greeted with enthusiasm. Frequently, the participants share how memories are triggered by an artwork, which are then reflected in their work. Much like the landscape exhibition, the participants have taken the skills and techniques acquired to lead their own classes at the center.
Empowerment Through the Arts for Women
Since the beginning of this year, LACMA has led monthly workshops for women at the Compton Library. We have seen women of diverse age groups and backgrounds come together to learn about LACMA’s collection, create art, and meet and share experiences with other women in the community. Each workshop explores how art can empower, heal, and visually communicate feelings or ideas.
At one workshop, handmade paper patterns created by South Pacific Islanders were discussed and used as a metaphor for individual’s habits; at another workshop, stereotypes of women were explored through movie posters from LACMA’s collection, and memory bundles were created while listening to a poet recite her verses.
This November, LACMA will partner with the Susan B. Komen Foundation to lead a day-long program for breast cancer patients and survivors.
Together Under the Compton Sky
Through the artistic guidance of Los Angeles-based artist Nzuji De Magalhaes, and as a result of conversations about community with the families that attend the LACMA Art Studio at Lueders Park, a collaborative mural, Together Under the Compton Sky, evolved over a period of several months.
The artwork provides a glimpse of Compton’s history, as well as lesser-known community entities, such as the Compton Cowboys, the Compton Cricket Club, and the record-setting young pilots who soar from Compton’s airport. The mural emphasizes unity, empathy, and community pride, and highlights the importance of education, art, music, literature, film, and environmental awareness.
Now in its second year, the workshops see an increased number of families and we can always count on seeing the same dedicated faces. Their commitment allowed us to complete this great artwork, permanently installed in the courtyard at Lueders Park.
In the two years that On-Site has been running in Compton, community members who participate in LACMA’s programs at East Rancho Dominguez Community Center, the Compton Library, and at the LACMA Art Studio have become the museum’s biggest advocates. Meeting and learning from community members has helped us develop programming that they enjoy; it’s wonderful to share personal stories, food, and laughter while making art. This has been key to connecting with the community and creating memorable experiences.