The other night I went to a fundraising even at Inner-City Arts in Downtown LA. Inner City Arts is a program provides arts exposure and education to kids, most of whom live within a few miles of the school -- one of the more impoverished and under-served areas in the county (although there is at least one student who’s bussed in all the way from Pomona).
A center for ants
The Inner-City Arts campus was designed by Michael Maltzan, whose Los Feliz-based firm is also responsible for Westwood’s Billy Wilder Theater, part of Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and several housing units for the formerly homeless.
Inner-City Arts classrooms
Though located in a gritty section of downtown on the edge of the Wholesale District and the Downtown Industrial District near Skid Row, it’s rather like a calm oasis. The poetic modernist architecture is reminiscent of the work of Portuguese architect, Álvaro Siza, and is largely open but separated from its gritty neighbors. Inside, the courtyard is well landscaped. One can imagine this environment being conducive to the creative development of the young people it serves.
On the night of the fundraiser (21+, natch) there was food from as well as complimentary beer and wine (always a plus for me!). There was shopping with several jewelry designers, artists, ceramacists, photographers and more exhibiting and offering their wares. I spent $20 at the mystery shopping boutique and came away with a DVD set of 35 Clint Eastwood films (valued at $179.98 – score!). There were also several Val Lewton collections left in the gift exchange area. Forgive them Nzambi, they know not what they do!
Our Canvas History: Journey to Los Angeles You know me and art maps
Food was provided by Cypress Park's Antigua Coffee, Pasadena's Burger Continental, Crispy Waffle & Frite, From the Grill, Let's Be Frank, Los Angeles Bakery, Sana Gourmet, Tender Greens, and The Solomon Family. The (vegetarian) tamales from Sana Gourmet were favorites, as was Tender Greens' gazpacho.
The Bizung Family Meta: A picture of me taking a picture
Additionally, Chilean-born Franco-Hungarian graffiti artist Mambo worked on a plexiglass piece; Ghana-born Mohammad Alidu and his band, Bizung Family, played highlife, afropop and other African styles of music; and DJ D-Styles, DJ Cyberia, DJ Ronix and ReallyNathan kept the dance floor filled. Since I wasn’t driving, I amused myself with the breathalyzer, which I treated like a “high striker” carnival game, hoping a bell would ring if I was boozy enough (it didn’t). All for a good cause!
Anyway, Inner-City Arts is a great, very inspiring program, they throw great parties and you should check and help them out if you’re able -- here's a link to their Facebook page