PVJOBS on Main St. provides training and job placement for careers in construction for at-risk Angelenos. Applicants must meet certain requirements such as a history of substance abuse and have been referred from a partnered advocacy group.
St. Paul’s Baptist Church, once the center of a thriving African American community, is now struggling to financially survive and attract new members in what has now become a primarily Hispanic neighborhood. Yet new life is flowing through the sanctuary as hundreds of homeless come every Sunday to eat breakfast and many become regulars in the services, bible study classes and choirs.
Here in the streets of Los Angeles, public transportation is very important and the buses that cruise down Main Street and its neighboring streets are no exception. Many inhabitants of the area without a car depend upon buses to get to and from work, school, and even the market. Additionally, the bus system in Los Angeles helps limit traffic in the area while also reducing smog with its low emission engines. In this story, we will take a closer look at the people of Main Street and the role of public transportation in their lives.
Kids and their families in the Los Angeles community can get a dose of art education by visiting the Junipero Serra Library on Main Street, thanks to Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA) Art Program with the Community: LACMA On-Site.
In this program, 10 LACMA art teachers visit a total of 17 different libraries in Los Angeles to teach the communities about art. Sofia Gutierrez coordinates LACMA’s out of school and after school programs, including the library program, and said the artists they hire are artists from the community.
“It’s not an easy job,” said Guiterrez. “It’s not just about reaching out to the communities; we hire artists that want to make the community about what they teach.”
Alexis Garcia is the LACMA art teacher who to comes to the Junipero Serra Library every Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. to show kids new arts skills such as printmaking, watercolors, drawing and sculpting. However, Garcia said it’s more than just teaching the kids and their families new skills. The program also aims to teach kids about the art collection at LACMA.
“Everything we do here is object-based,” said Garcia. “We will look at an object that is related to the LACMA collection and do an art project based off of that.”
“We always teach them art that connects the work to what’s in the [LACMA] collection,” said Guiterrez.
For example, one Saturday children were instructed to draw their own art museum and another week they learned how to make “rayographs,” a technique introduced by LACMA-featured artist Man Ray.
Guiterrez said this program was established so that people in underserved communities could be exposed to art. By “underserved”, Guiterrez is referring to communities that may not be exposed to LACMA or art in general.
“We try to reach out to every level of society, from cradle to grave,” said Guiterrez. “We serve all youths but put an emphasis is put on underserved communities.”
Garcia hopes she can teach the families and the children more about LACMA and get them to come visit the museum so they can learn even more about art and culture.
“I don’t think the kids all go to LACMA,” said Garcia. “I don’t think there’s any school field trips to the museum. It would be nice if the kids got to go see the museum with their families.”
Both Garcia and Guiterrez also acknowledge that the art they teach the kids could help replace any of the art the children might have lost from their schools because of budget cuts.
Getting the children to openly discuss art is another goal of Garcia’s, and she thinks she has reached that goal.
“I have noticed kids coming out of their shells, which is nice,” said Garcia.
The Junipero Serra Library and LACMA relationship is strong. LACMA provides everything for free, including the art supplies, and the library encourages LACMA to come and teach the children art.
Heawon Paick, the branch manager of the library, said, “The art program has been very successful. We are exposing them to classic arts, how to do art, and how to draw. We actually have many kids who come and show us what they made after the program -- it’s so cute! It’s really fascinating.”
According to Garcia, about 15 to 20 children and their families show up to the Junipero Serra Library art class. Most of the children are elementary-school age and many of the families speak Spanish. However, since Garcia is also bilingual in Spanish, it is not a problem for her.
The children and their families who come to the art lessons say they enjoy learning from Alexis. 8-year-old Pedro Macias said during his first time at the Junipero art session, “I like coming here because when I’m bored, I can just come and do art.”
Sara Alcazar and her 6-year-old son Andy have been coming to Garcia's class almost every Saturday for about a month.
“The art class is good,” said Alcazar. “It’s a good outlet for [Andy]. It’s nice seeing him do art and draw and to do the art with him.”
Junipero Serra is not Garcia’s only library; she also teaches art Mark Twain, Vernon and Los Feliz libraries as well. With a fine arts degree from Arizona State University, Garcia considers herself an artist said she loves being able to pass down her knowledge of art to younger kids and their families, especially to those who come faithfully on those Saturday afternoons.
“It’s really great,” said Garcia. “It’s great that the kids want to be here on their own and they make the effort to come to the library.”