Here’s an Index of Arts Nonprofits in Los Angeles From Our Directory
Born out of the offices of the legendary Los Angeles art magazine High Performance, the 18th Street Arts Center is a non-profit local and international artists residency and exhibition venue that has been nurturing the West L.A. art scene since the late 1980s. Occupying an acre of land in Santa Monica’s Pico neighborhood, the Center’s residencies and programs are dedicated to promoting contemporary art and performance focused on community and diversity, fostering the work of artists
working in all mediums, both young and old.
With its 1989 move to a former National Guard Armory in Old Town Pasadena, the Armory expanded its mission, becoming a vital space for the exhibition of contemporary art — including an early solo show by a then-emerging Tim Hawkinson. Recent shows have included a major survey by Steve Roden, interactive temporary public art installations throughout the community, and thoughtfully curated group shows highlighting the work of many of today’s most exciting artists.
This innovative non-profit organization has been an important nodal point in the Los Angeles contemporary art scene, bringing artists, curators, academics and other small satellite galleries and ephemeral spaces into their orbit through exhibitions, lectures and symposia. In their spirit of cultural advocacy, a curatorial residency program has been developed to “further facilitate the necessary dialogue between emerging and established arts professionals.”
Situated in the Old Venice Town Hall on Venice Boulevard, Beyond Baroque is a beloved enclave for poetic text and the spoken word. The nationally acclaimed, non-profit poetry and literary arts center provides a platform for poets, offers free workshops and low costs readings & performances, archives LA literature & publishes rare, out-of-print poetry.
The Bicycle Kitchen is arguably the most important focal point of bike culture in Los Angeles. This non-profit is seriously dedicated to getting people out of cars and onto bikes by helping people learn how to fix and build their own rides. The Kitchen has every conceivable tool you could need, a large stock of used parts and a friendly group of volunteers to help you work on your bike.
Founded in 1994, The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) is “dedicated to the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation’s lands are apportioned, utilized and perceived.”
The Center for the Arts, on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, stands out as a vital nerve center for northeast L.A.. For over a decade, the Center has been interfacing with local communities through its summer art camps, classes, music festivals and excellent contemporary art programming.
An artist-run non-profit in Atwater Village, Clockshop has been offering up public projects and discussion platforms since 2003. Recent speakers have ranged from fiction writers to Los Angeles city councilmen.
The non-profit Echo Park Film Center is the kind of place that makes northeast L.A. the center of a better kind of universe. Offering “microcinema” screenings of locally and (really) independently produced features, shorts and documentaries, filmmaking workshops and classes, and a small retail shop specializing in Super-8, the Echo Park Film Center offers more than we probably deserve.
Beginning with their deservedly celebrated 2006 “Not A Cornfield” project, Farmlab has been producing some of the most exciting community art projects Los Angeles has ever seen. Based at 1745 N. Spring Street, Farmlab is a beacon among Los Angeles’ thriving culture of artistic initiatives working to generate, through action, a more hopeful discourse concerning the all too tentative place of nature within our concrete metropolis.
The Fellows of Contemporary Art are dedicated to the development and support of contemporary art in California. Since their inception in 1975, they have been able to underwrite and support some of the most important shows in California, including major survey and solo shows at MOCA, LACMA, the La Jolla MCA, The Hammer Museum, SFMOMA and The Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
LAAA’s mission is to provide opportunities, resources, services and exhibition venues for Los Angeles artists, with an emphasis on emerging talent. Founded in 1925, LAAA has played a central role in the formation of Los Angeles’ arts community, and pledges to provide emerging artists with the experience, education and exposure needed to create and sustain a career in the arts.
The Istituto Italiano di Cultura (IIC) serves as an interface between the people of Los Angeles and all things Italian. Based in its landmark Westwood building designed by Robert Alexander, the IIC, which was established in 1984 as part of a five-city satellite program by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provides the city with access to a sizeable Italian language film and literature library, language courses, food and wine events, art exhibitions and more.
The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design provides a framework for design professionals and members of the general public to explore, evaluate, and impact the development of architecture in Los Angeles. Throughout its 20+ years of operation, the Forum has brought together young designers, seasoned professionals, critics, urban theorists, artists, students, and people interested in their physical environment in a diverse series of activities.
Director and Curator Lauri Firstenberg started LA><ART with the vision of creating a dynamic critical space for emerging art, architecture and design. From full-scale installations to public performances, site-specific interventions to limited editions, LA><ART is promoting and producing some of the most ambitious young art in Los Angeles.
LACE continues to generate timely and adventurous programming, serving as a key outlet for local and international emerging artists. Curated group shows, first-time solo shows and a myriad of site specific, thematic and ephemeral projects are always in the mix at LACE.
LAND is a public art initiative committed to curating site- and situation-specific contemporary art exhibitions in Los Angeles and beyond. Since its inception, LAND has presented more than twenty-five discrete exhibitions, performances, salons, and other events across five cities.
Machine Project is a non-profit community space in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles investigating art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, and food. From their Echo Park storefront, they produce events, lectures, workshops, and large-scale installations using hands-on engagement to make rarefied knowledge accessible.
The MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House has served as a satellite of the Vienna-based cultural institution since 1994, maintaining a successful residency program, bookstore and exhibition space at the spectacularly understated Schindler House in West Hollywood. A true architectural masterpiece, the Schindler House is a perfect backdrop for the work of the MAK foundation, which continually offers an ambitious schedule of exhibitions, performances and lectures.
Located on a quiet strip of Silver Lake Boulevard just off Sunset, Materials & Applications is a non-profit research center for art, landscape and architecture founded by Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess. Free to the public, M&A also produces twice-yearly outdoor installations.
Housed in the Broad Art Center on the UCLA campus in Westwood, The New Wight Gallery works as a kind of alchemical synthesis of three of the great powers of the Los Angeles art world: the Broads (who paid for it), Richard Meier and Associates (who designed the building it occupies), and the UCLA Fine Arts department (whose graduate and undergraduate students make the work that’s shown there).
One of the more innovative organizations at work in Los Angeles is Outpost for Contemporary Art. With no fixed exhibition space, Outpost is a free-floating contemporary art initiative that since 2004 has specialized in artist residencies, screenings and artist exchanges. Projects include exhibitions and events dealing with the relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico and socio-political transformation in Eastern Europe.
The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation and promotion of experimental art and sound practices in Los Angeles.
For over 30 years, Self Help Graphics and Art has offered the Chicano community of East Los Angeles a place to learn, create and gather through printmaking. The activities and events here have a politicized nature and aim to create a positive force within the community they serve.
Built between 1921 and 1954 by Italian immigrant Sabato Rodia out of recycled materials, the towers have been an icon of the neighborhood since they were begun. It is also the home of the Watts Towers Arts Center, which provides diverse cultural enrichment programming through tours, lectures, changing exhibits and studio workshops for both teachers and school children.
by Ruth Chun
Also see Support NY Arts Nonprofits