July 19, 2008 |
Supporters of Self Help Graphics, the historic East L.A. arts center, got a little sanctimonious last week when they learned that the building they had occupied rent-free for decades had been sold by their landlord and longtime benefactors, the Sisters of St. Francis. How could those nuns pull the rug out from under them like that, without notice? The art agency's board president, Armando Duron, even suggested that the leader of the Catholic order should go to confession for the alleged duplicity.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 10, 2008 |
In the early 1970s, a Franciscan nun turned an East Los Angeles garage into a thriving cultural center that gave rise to some of the city's most successful Latino artists. Self Help Graphics & Art later moved into a 1920s-era building on Cesar Chavez Avenue that would become distinctive for its mosaic-covered facade. Artists such as Gronk, Frank Romero and Barbara Carrasco exhibited their work and taught at the center. Sister Karen Boccalero, its founder, became a patron of the East L.A.
March 15, 2008 |
ARMANDO DURON rushes out of court one day last week after dispatching another divorce case in his lucrative family law practice. The silver-haired lawyer and art collector is running late for a noon appointment, but not at some chic downtown restaurant. He's heading to East Los Angeles, where he spends his spare time trying to rescue the chronically struggling community arts collective Self Help Graphics. The agency on Cesar Chavez Avenue, considered the heart of the Chicano art scene, was close to closing its doors three years ago when Duron decided to volunteer to help turn it around.
June 23, 2007 |
When the topic turned to Self Help Graphics, East L.A.'s revered but perennially struggling cultural center, it seemed as if nobody talked about creating art. For years, the talk had been all about survival -- meager budgets, debilitating debt, mass board resignations and Sisyphean drives for new funds. But there's a feisty, chain-smoking ghost who inhabits the agency's decrepit building on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and who doesn't get bogged down in the bottom line.
January 15, 2005 |
The lights are out in an area of the second floor at Self Help Graphics & Art, East L.A.'s pioneering nonprofit that has been a beacon for Latino artists for more than three decades. During the recent storms, leaks bedeviled the landmark building on Cesar Chavez Avenue, frying electrical circuits and eating away at walls and ceilings from the roof to the first-floor gift store.
August 1, 2004 |
For many people in East Los Angeles, Self Help Graphics is more than a community arts center, it's an institution. The building on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, with its distinctive murals, has for years housed a printmaking shop that served as one of the early incubators for the Chicano art movement in California. Many noted artists who launched their careers there remain active, visible members of the community.