SELF HELP GRAPHICS & ART ACQUIRES CURRENT HEADQUARTERS, REACHES NEW MILESTONE AFTER 45 YEARS IN OPERATION
Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) is proud to announce the acquisition of its current headquarters, at 1300 E. 1st Street in Boyle Heights. After 45 years of service, today’s landmark achievement ensures SHG’s permanence on the Eastside of Los Angeles for future generations.
“The acquisition of Self Help Graphics & Art’s current home, is a monumental accomplishment for our community arts organization that began in the garage of our co-Founder, Sister Karen Boccalero. The positive impact to the populations that we serve, through multidisciplinary grassroots community arts practice and creative workforce training, is extensive; and sets a precedent in fortifying SHG’s legacy as a top cultural arts institution in the country, at a time in US history when the significance of the Chicana/o and Latinx experiences are being questioned by our nation’s highest office,” said Co-Director, Advancement and Administration, Betty Avila.
“Since its inception, Self Help Graphics & Art has been the premier space for printmaking, cultural expression, innovation, social justice and artivism for emerging Chicana/o and Latinx artists. Self-determination through stewardship of this building is significant for the cultural arts community and means that the organization will no longer be at risk for displacement; allowing us to expand on our mission to be a leading source of cultural programming, arts education and workforce development for artists-of-color in the creative capital of the world,” said Co-Director, Programs and Operations, Joel Garcia.
The building acquisition of 3.625 million was made possible through Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) bond funds from the City of Los Angeles (Office of Councilmember Jose Huizar and
Economic and Workforce Development Department), funding from Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Office of the Honorable Hilda Solis), the Weingart Foundation, lending from California Community Foundation and private donors. Self Help Graphics & Art will launch a capital campaign to support funding for the building acquisition lending and for capital renovations, which will be announced to the public in the near future.
“Securing a permanent hub for Self Help Graphics & Art in Boyle Heights protects the legacy of cultural arts in the Eastside for communities of color, with one-of-a-kind arts programming that supports decades of advocacy toward cultural arts equity. One such program, SHG’s Barrio Mobile Art Studio (BMAS), innovated arts education across the nation, while its internationally acclaimed printmaking studio paved the way for legendary artists today,” said Board President, Karen Mary Davalos.
“For generations, Self Help Graphics and Art has worked at the intersection of art and community, uplifting the voices of Boyle Heights and East L.A. while sharing beauty and joy with all Angelenos. We are excited to see them gain a permanent home, where they can continue to nurture the creative visions of emerging artists and celebrate the power and diversity of Latino art,” said President and CEO, Antonia Hernández of California Community Foundation.
“The close of escrow is the final step after years of work to secure a permanent home for this groundbreaking arts organization,” said L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar. “I am proud to have worked to save this property from being sold by the CRA to the highest bidder. We then convinced my colleagues on the City Council to initiate the purchase and sale of the building to Self Help Graphics and Art, authorized $825,000 in bond funds to go toward the purchase, and facilitated final details of escrow between the City and other lenders because I believe strongly in this organization. Self Help Graphics & Art was founded in Boyle Heights and grew out of a real need in the 1970s to nurture Chicana/o expression in the arts at a time Chicana/o art wasn’t recognized as legitimate. For the benefit of future generations, I am thrilled to have helped Self Help Graphics & Art stay in Boyle Heights.”
"I want to congratulate Self Help Graphics & Art on the acquisition of their building at 1300 E. 1st St! This grassroots community arts organization has been the premier cultural arts destination on the Eastside for over four decades, advancing arts practice, creative workforce training and beyond. With its permanence, Self Help Graphics will continue to be a place that will positively impact the social and cultural wellness of the Eastside and our entire L.A. County community for generations to come," said Honorable L.A. County Supervisor, Hilda L. Solis, First District.
“We applaud the extraordinary work of Self Help Graphics throughout the decades, and congratulate them on their new permanent home,” said Fred Ali, president and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. “They are a long-standing beacon of talent, creativity and ingenuity in the community – and a source of inspiration for us all. This new home will strengthen their presence and help to ensure their continued impact.
SHG was founded in 1970 by artists, including Catholic Franciscan nun, Sister Karen Boccalero, Carlos Bueno, Antonio Ibáñez and Frank Hernández. Known then as “Art, Inc.”, the co-Founders began operations from Sister Karen’s garage. They and other artists held their first exhibition at the “El Mercado” shopping center in 1971. By 1973, the original cohort relocated to another building in Boyle Heights and that same year, they incorporated as a nonprofit organization and changed their name to Self Help Graphics & Art. In 1979, SHG moved to 3802 Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, in unincorporated East Los Angeles. The organization’s mosaic covered building in East L.A. became an iconic cultural marker in the community, which garnered designation through the Los Angeles Conservancy for its incredible public mosaic tile work.
In March 2011, SHG was displaced from its iconic mosaic building of 30 years on Cesar E. Chavez and the organization moved three and a half miles west into a former sea urchin packing plant, located across the street from the Pico/Aliso Gold Line light rail station in Boyle Heights. In 2014, SHG went exclusively mobile in order to accommodate remediation and building improvements in its 1300 E. 1st St. building. The organization moved back to 1300 E. 1st St. Boyle Heights space in October of 2016 and hosted the largest Dia de los Muertos celebration in its history, with over 10,000 attendees.
In the last year alone, SHG served over 30,000 people through workshops and live events, conducted over 130 workshops, hosted six marketplaces that provided economic support for artists of color (many of whom are from or reside in Boyle Heights), activated live workshops in multiple City of Los Angeles and County districts, and launched artistic training programs for youth, among many other benchmarks.
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