Recently I attended the public opening of Art + Practice (http://artandpractice.org), a wonderful new art and social service venue for foster youth. From their mission, which says it best, “Conceived and founded by artist Mark Bradford, philanthropist and collector Eileen Harris Norton, and social activist Allan DiCastro, Art + Practice (A+P) is a private arts and education foundation based in Leimert Park, a historic neighborhood in South Los Angeles. A+P seeks to create a developmental platform that supports the acquisition of practical skills for foster youth and stresses the importance of creative activity in a larger social context.
To support its goals of empowering foster youth and strengthening communities through contemporary art, A+P oversees four areas of focus:
- a technology lab and classrooms
- a curated film and lecture space
- artists’ studios
- an exhibition space for visual arts
Together, these four embody A+P’s commitment to art and social practice.
The organization occupies a nearly 20,000 square-foot campus in Leimert Park, where it directs its programs and activities and works in partnership with three organizations that share its core values: the Hammer Museum, a leading university-based art institution, which curates exhibitions and public programs on the A+P campus; The RightWay Foundation, delivering mental health services and job training to foster youth, which oversees the foundation’s foster youth services; and EsoWon Books, a black-owned bookstore, community hub, and neighborhood institution, which directs A+P’s lecture series.”
As I strolled through Eso Won Books before an hour before the opening in the new gallery space, looking at the titles (I bought Nell Painter’s The History of White People, one of hers I have read before but whenever I loan it out it is never returned, it’s that good!) and thinking about the history of Leimert Park and this new chapter, I was looking forward to the debut show of Charles Gaine’s work. A program partnership with the Hammer Museum has made a series of exhibitions possible at A + P. The Rightway Foundation is another program partner (http://www.therightwayfoundation.org) and with Founder Franco Vega had come together with Mark and Eilen and Alan to make all of this happen. This is the kind of progressive cross sector thinking and action that Campbell Consultants Group admires in projects it wants to highlight as models of cultural exchange, where artists, philanthropists, arts organizations and social services come together to bring a new energy and light to an historic area that is of such important to the arts ecology of an entire city.