LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

501 North Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 - United States

213-543-6200

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Smithsonian Affiliate Museum

Free Everyday

Opened in 2011, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is a Los Angeles County museum and Smithsonian Institute affiliate that celebrates the past and inspires the future by sharing the untold stories about the history, art and culture of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and all Latinos in the founding and continuing evolution of Southern California through compelling and culturally enriching exhibitions, educational initiatives, and public programs.

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.

Exhibits

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, multisensory 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
February 22 – July 20, 2020
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.

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.