LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
501 North Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 - United States
Opened in 2011, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is a Los Angeles County museum and Smithsonian Institute affiliate that honors the past, inspires the future, and recognizes the enduring cultural influence of Mexicans, Mexican Americans and all Latinas/Latinos in Los Angeles through transformative exhibitions, programming and educational experiences.
Located near the site where Los Angeles was founded in 1781, LA Plaza’s 2.2-acre campus includes two historic and renovated buildings (the Vickrey-Brunswig Building and Plaza House) surrounded by 30,000 square feet of public space that includes an outdoor stage, a patio, an edible teaching garden, a historic walkway, and Los Angeles’ first cemetery.
LA Starts Here!
LA Plaza’s groundbreaking permanent exhibition presents an alternative to traditional interpretations of Los Angeles history, aiming to change what we know about Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the city. Using personal narratives, photographs, artifacts, oral testimonies, and videos presented from a people’s perspective, LA Starts Here! highlights untold and overlooked indigenous, Mexican, and Mexican-American stories from the precolonial era to the present day. Visitors of all backgrounds are encouraged to think critically about the shaping of cultural and national identities, and to feel pride in their own heritage.
Calle Principal: Mi México en Los Ángeles
This interactive and educational permanent exhibition invites families to explore the sights, sounds, and smells of downtown Los Angeles during the 1920s. Calle Principal is an immersive recreation of Main Street, the onetime heart of Los Angeles’s Mexican, Mexican-American and immigrant communities—and the street LA Plaza sits on today. Featuring vignettes based on real and imagined businesses and gathering places of the time, the exhibition offers young visitors hands-on, multi-sensory experiences of daily life during the 1920s, encouraging them to make meaningful connections between the present and the past.
The View from Here: Architecture as Witness to History
LA Plaza’s Vickrey-Brunswig Building, Plaza House, and adjoining two-and-a-half-acre campus are located in the historic heart of Los Angeles. The museum resides within both the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, considered to be the original site of city as founded by colonists from Mexico, and the ancient Tongva city of Yaanga, the precolonial center of the region’s indigenous population. Through photographs and objects excavated onsite, the permanent exhibition The View from Here surveys how LA Plaza and its surrounding landscape developed over the last three centuries.
afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes explores the history and contemporary experiences of Afrolatinidad in Los Angeles through art, photographs, and personal objects in afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city. In the exhibition, visitors enter a recreated Afro-Latinx home and understand how this vibrant yet underrepresented community is central to Los Angeles culture. The exhibition, the first of its kind in a major institution, is co-curated by Walter Thompson-Hernández and Mariah Berlanga-Shevchuk and funded by the California Humanities. Opening during Black History Month, afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city is presented in conjunction with a solo exhibition of works by Sula Bermudez-Silverman, curated by Mar Hollingsworth, at the California African American Museum.
Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form
The exhibition focuses on the earlier periods in the Carlos Almaraz's life that played a significant influence on his artistic styles and form, from conceptualism and minimalism when he lived in New York in the 1960s, to a burst of color and figurative work when he returned to Los Angeles. It explores his search for his cultural roots and sexual identity and his personal and professional relationship with his wife and fellow artist Elsa Flores Almaraz.
The exhibition includes early black and white grid-like compositions in graphite on paper and abstract color grids in pastel from the 1960s and the beginning of figurative works in the 1970s. Also included are a selection of the artist’s personal sketchbooks from 1969 and his later trips to China and works that have not been exhibited for decades, including the recently restored mural on paper La Conquista (1972), two untitled spray can murals from 1971 inspired by the collective murals of Los Four, and a large foreboding painting End of an Era (1986). Also included in the exhibition are black and white photographs by Elsa Flores Almaraz from 1975 to 1982, showing a glimpse into the Chicano art scene of that time.
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