Category Archives: Events

Grand Park Downtown Dia de los Muertos 2020 black background, yellow skull with flame, pink text



Grand Park Altars curated by Self Help Graphics

Self Help Graphics

Since its incorporation in 1973, Self Help Graphics & Art has produced more than 2,000 serigraph editions, including 62 atelier projects and exhibitions all over the world. The organization remains dedicated to the production, interpretation, and distribution of prints and other art media by Chicana/o and Latinx artists; and its multidisciplinary, intergenerational programs promote artistic excellence and empower community by providing access to working space, tools, training and beyond. Now, nearly a half-century later, SHG continues to foster emerging Chicana/o and Latinx artists through its world-class printmaking practice and supports the role of artists as leaders, both within its organization and the community. For more information, visit Follow SHG on Facebook @selfhelpgraphics and Instagram and Twitter @SHG1970.

COMMUNITY ALTAR by Ofelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza Ahrens
Noche de Ofrenda has become, for me, the highlight of the observances of Dias de Los Muertos because it draws upon the significance of the altar itself; on the ofrendas- the offerings that we place on it with intention to honor, to remember, to contemplate, to reflect, and to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have passed on. This beautiful observance was initiated at Self Help Graphics many years ago as part of the Day of the Dead celebration, and in tandem with Noche de Palabra. I was asked by Tomas Benitez to make a presentation about the Ofrendas my children and I had been building at SHG. This became a welcomed annual event that called for a more personal, a more quiet- a more spiritual participation in our annual community altar presentation in the upstairs Salon which was always apart from the large annual Day of the Dead celebrations at SHG.

Today, when so many lives have been lost by Covid-19, and so many forms of loss and upheaval have affected our lives, a Noche de Ofrenda gains even more significance to our community. We all need a time for reflection, a time for gratitude and healing, and yes, a time for social awareness as a community. As we honor our loved ones, we remember our ancestors who are always with us, that we are never alone. We are grateful for their legacy of struggle, survival, and resilience, for their stories, their love of family and culture, and their determination to provide a better life the next generations.
This Ofrenda is dedicated to all our loved ones we wish to remember- to our ancestors-and symbolically, to those who died through violence and racism, and to those who have lost their lives through wars and political oppression. Spiritually, we honor the lives and all other living beings lost through the forces of Nature.

– Ofelia Esparza October, 2020

Noche de Ofrenda se ha convertido, para mí, lo más destacado de las observancias del Día de los Muertos porque se basa en el significado del altar en sí; en las ofrendas que ponemos en él con la intención de honrar, de recordar, de contemplar, de reflexionar, y de celebrar las vidas de nuestros seres queridos que han partido. Esta hermosa observancia fue iniciada en Self Help Graphics muchos años atrás como parte de la celebración del Día de los Muertos, y a la par con Noche de Palabra. Tomás Benitez me invitó a hacer una presentación acerca de las Ofrenda que mis hijos y yo habíamos construído en SHG. Esto se convirtió en un bienvenido evento anual que hacía un llamado a una participación más personal, más silenciosa- más espiritual en nuestra presentación anual del Altar Comunitario en el salón del segundo piso, la cual siempre era parte de las celebraciones anuales del Día de los Muertos en SHG.

Hoy en día, cuando tantas vidas se han perdido por el Covid-19, y tantas formas de pérdida y agitación han afectado nuestras vidas, una Noche de Ofrenda gana aún más importancia en nuestra comunidad. Todos necesitamos un momento para reflexión, un momento para gratitud y sanación, y sí, un momento para un despertar social como comunidad. Mientras honramos a nuestro seres amados, recordamos a nuestros ancestros que siempre están con nosotros, que nunca estamos solos. Estamos agradecidas por su legado de lucha, supervivencia, y resiliencia, por sus historias, su amor por la familia y cultura, y por su determinación para proveer una mejor vida para las próximas generaciones.

Esta Ofrenda está dedicada a todos nuestros seres amados que queremos recordar – a nuestros ancestros – y simbólicamente, a aquellos que murieron por violencia y racismo, y para aquellos que han perdido sus vidas en guerras y opresión política. Espiritualmente, honramos las vidas y todos los seres vivientes perdidos por las fuerzas de la Naturaleza.

– Ofelia Esparza, 2020 octubre

Ofelia Esparza is an artist and educator from East Los Angeles where she was born in 1932. Esparza, a retired elementary school teacher from LAUSD, has been an artist since childhood. Esparza started making public altars at Self Help Graphics & Art in 1979, where she is best known as an “altarista” for Day of the Dead. It is at SHG where she learned and developed a body of work in printmaking. Her work reflects her spirituality and her Mexican indigenous heritage. Ofelia credits her mother’s influence in observing the mysticism and dignity of the natural world. A great portion of Esparza’s work honors womanhood. This is what inspires not only her ofrendas, but all facets of her art endeavors.
Along with her daughter, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens (b. 1961) – also an altarista and graphic designer, they consider themselves cultural facilitators, conducting workshops and lectures at schools, colleges, community venues and presently, in the women’s corrections facility, California Institute for Women (CIW). In 2017, Ofelia and Rosanna were cultural advisors to the Pixar Movie “COCO”. In 2018, because of her cultural work as an altarista. Ofelia was named a 2018 National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington DC. In 2019, the Esparza’s were featured in the PBS’ ARTBOUND Series: Season 10, Episode 3, “Dia De Los Muertos”. Also in 2019, she and her daughter were invited to create an altar for Day of the Dead at the Smithsonian National Museum of the America Indian in Washington, D.C.

Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles
This altar honors the victims listed on The site is inspired by Ida B Wells’s Red Record, and is aimed to expose those who murder our people. The data on the site spans from 2013 to the present.

Este altar honra a las víctimas enlistadas en El mestá inspirado por el Récord Rojo de Ida B Wells, y está destinado para exponer a aquellos que asesinan a nuestra gente. Los datos del sitio abarcan desde el 2013 al presente.

We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others. We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location. We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who live in different parts of the world. We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities.

We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. We intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting. We make space for transgender siblings to participate and lead. We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

Building Healthy Communities Boyle Heights: Health Happens with Prevention Group
We are honoring the community members we have lost due to the pandemic, and the folks still living that need mental health support. We will be directing people to learn more about mental health issues and services.

Estamos honrando a los miembros de la comunidad que hemos perdido a causa de la pandemia, y a las personas que aún viven y necesitan apoyo de salud mental. Estaremos dirigiendo a la gente a aprender más acerca de servicios y problemáticas de salud mental.

Health Happens with Prevention is a coalition of organizations and community members dedicated to advocating for preventative health services in Boyle Heights, with a focus on mental health.

Community Power Collective
We honor Workers and Tenants from our base: Street Vendors, Farmers, Mariachis, Members of the Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre

Honramos a Trabajadores e Inquilines de nuestra base: Vendedores Ambulantes, Agricultores, Mariachis, y Miembros del Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre

We exist to building power with low-income tenants and workers through transformative organizing to win economic justice, community control of land and housing, and to propagate systems of cooperation in Boyle Heights and greater Los Angeles region.

Consuelo G. Flores
This altar honors the students of Ayotzinapa, who were murdered in Mexico and victims of murder in Los Angeles. What connects these two groups is that their murders have never been solved. I’ll also be remembering my parents and brother Ben, who all taught me the importance of social justice and the value of life.

Estoy honrando a los estudiantes de Ayotzinapa que fueron asesinados en México, así como a víctimas de asesinato en Los Ángeles. Lo que conecta a estos dos grupos es que sus asesinatos nunca han sido resueltos. También estaré recordando a mis padres y a mi hermano Ben, quienes me enseñaron la importancia de la justicia social y el valor de la vida.

A multidisciplinary artist from ELA, Consuelo G. Flores creates beautiful altars, extraordinary paper fashions, intimate poetry, dynamic spoken word and impactful one-act plays. She received Self Help Graphics’ 2017 Legacy Artist Award & a 2018 Honorable Mention from the Irvine Fine Arts Center. She has an MFA in CNF from Antioch University and is included in the upcoming anthology Fieldnotes in Allyship. She has written & directed seven one-act plays which were produced in Los Angeles and Dubai and gives lectures on the celebration of Dia de los Muertos to students and public audiences. She was recently featured in an Los Angeles Times article on her experience during the Chicano Moratorium of August 29, 1970. She’s currently a Director in the Equity & Inclusion Department of SAG-AFTRA and lives with her husband in West Adams area of Los Angeles.

Corazón del Pueblo – Xochitl Palomera

Huei Micailhuitl: Ceremony of Death

Honoring All Womxn (BIWOC, Children, Trans Womxn, Femmes & LGBTQ+) whose lives have been taken as a result of femicide & gender-based violence. Honoring Tonantzin, Nuestra Madre Tierra, Mother Earth which over 4 million acres burned this year in California, and continues to burn. Violence against Womxn is violence against Mother Earth. Patriarchy perpetuates the killing of Womxn and Mother Earth, and bear the weight of femicide and exploitation. This altar is an ancestral guide, a Camino de Fuego, representing the burning mountains. A road made of fire that leads Macehualli (La Gente / The People) to the altar. The altar is filled with offerings honoring all Womxn and Children and is surrounded by Cempuaxochitl representing the fire that calls and guides us to the altar. The Cempuaxochitl is also the Camino Florido, guiding our ancestors to the altar where we will meet in ceremony to listen to the Femmecestors speak. The Tonanas, Abuelas, Grandmothers are saying: “To Kill our Mother is to Kill her Children is to Kill the Source of Life.” Patriarchy and Capitalism must be abolished. Our Mother is on fire. Her children will inherit ashes and will learn to use those ashes to make Spirulina, the source of life and begin a new cycle. That new cycle is where all Macehualli are free! Where we can be Black. Where we can be Indigenous. Where we can be Trans. Where we can be Womxn. Where we can be children. Where we can be safe. Respected. Honored. Empowered. Where we can ALL be AUTONOMOUS & FREE. We call on our ancestors to help us do this heart-work and DECOLONIZE. We invite you to join us in this ceremony of abolishing oppressive systems and co-creating our Decolonial Liberation.”

Huei Micailhuitl: Ceremonia de la Muerte
Honrando a todes les mujeres (Negras, Indígenas, Niñes, Mujeres Trans, Femmes y LGBTQ+) cuyas vidas han sido arrebatadas como resultado de Feminicidio y Violencia de Género. Honrando a Tonantzin, Nuestra Madre Tierra, quien ha sufrido la quemazón de más de 4 millones de hectáreas este año en California, y continúa ardiendo. La violencia contra las Mujeres es violencia contra la Madre Tierra. Es aparente que el Patriarcado perpetúa la matanza de Mujeres y de la Madre Tierra. Las Mujeres y Tonantzin cargan el peso del Feminicidio y la explotación. Este Altar es una guía ancestral, un Camino de Fuego (Representado a las Montañas en llamas). Un camino hecho de fuego que nos guía a nosotros, Macehualli (La Gente), al altar.
El altar está lleno de ofrendas para honrar a todes les mujeres y niñes y está rodeado de Cempuaxochitl, representando el fuego que está llamándonos y guiándonos hacia el altar. Los Cempuaxochitl son también el Camino Florido que guía a nuestros ancestros al altar, en dónde nos reuniremos en ceremonia para escuchar a las Ancestros Femeninas hablar. Las Tonanas, Abuelas, están diciendo: “Matar a nuestra Madre es matar a sus Niñes, es matar la fuente de la Vida”. El Patriarcado y Capitalismo debe ser abolido. Nuestra Madre está en llamas. Sus hijes heredarán cenizas y aprenderán a usar esas cenizas para hacer Espirulina, la Fuente de la Vida, e iniciar un nuevo ciclo. Ese Nuevo Ciclo es ¡Dónde todos los Macehualli son Libres! Donde podemos ser Negros. Donde podemos ser Indígenas. Donde podemos ser Trans. Donde podemos ser Mujeres. Donde podemos ser Niños. donde podemos estar seguros. Respetados. Honrados. Empoderados. Donde TODOS podemos ser AUTÓNOMOS Y LIBRES. Llamamos a nuestros ancestros cuando necesitamos ayuda para hacer este trabajo del corazón y DECOLONIZAR. Les invitamos a unirse a esta ceremonia de abolición de sistemas opresivos y a co-crear nuestra liberación Decolonial.

Xochitl Palomera is an Educator who focuses on Intergenerational- Healing, Trauma-Informed Care & Decolonizing. She grew up in South Central L.A. Her passion for Social Justice, Cultural Arts, Ancestral knowledge and Wellness inspires her to create cultural connections with community members through reclaiming Ancestral ways, creating spaces to build community & connecting people to valuable resources for community empowerment.

Diana Alvarado // Monica Lopez // Tecpaxochitl // Margaux Hernandez // Alejandra Liera // Joel Rosales //Maritza Torres // Rebecca Nuñez // Belen Velasquez // Claudia Itzel // MarquezIreri Bernal // Jimmy Saldivar // Sarahi Perez // WOC Sister Collective // Chichihualli LA 

East Los Angeles Women’s Center Youth
We are honoring those who we have lost to domestic and sexual violence in our community and beyond. We hope to remind folks that there is help and support available for those who are experiencing or have experienced these forms of violence and that they are never alone. We want survivors to know that their silence is heard.

Estamos honrando a aquellos que hemos perdido por violencia doméstica y sexual en nuestra comunidad y más allá. Esperamos poder recordarle a la gente que hay ayuda y apoyo disponible para quienes están experimentando o han experimentado esos tipos de violencia y que nunca están solas. Queremos que los sobrevivientes sepan que su silencio es escuchado.

The mission of the East Los Angeles Women’s Center is to ensure that all women, girls and their families live in a place of safety, health, and personal well-being, free from violence and abuse, with equal access to necessary health services and social support, with an emphasis on Latino communities.

Eastside LEADS
This altar is dedicated to Eastside communities who despite the adverse history of segregation, inequitable planning, and disinvestment from the public and private sectors that have plagued their communities; they have grown strong roots of resilience and community activism which continues to this day. This Altar is in honor of all who have transitioned due to COVID-19 and our ancestors whose healing practices continue to bring comfort to us today.

Este altar está dedicado a las comunidades del Este, quienes a pesar de la historia de segregación, planeación injusta, y desinversión por los sectores públicos y privados que han plagado a sus comunidades; han crecido raíces fuertes de resiliencia y activismo comunitario que continúa hasta hoy. El Altar es en honor a todos los que han transicionado a causa de COVID-19 y para nuestros ancestros, cuyas prácticas de sanación continúan brindándonos confort hoy en día.

Eastside LEADS is a coalition of tenants, youth,and community based organizations who are fighting displacement in the Eastside of Los Angeles through policy and organizing. We are fighting for development and investment that benefits existing residents, not development that displaces us. Our roots are deep and proud and we will preserve our communities through our collective work.

Jackie Amezquita & Julio César Toruño

On November 1st of every year, the people of both Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango, Guatemala, put together giant kites to fly or show during the Day of the Dead. This cultural tradition in Guatemala is not only an art exhibition through the creation of kites, but it is also an ancient way of connecting with our ancestors. It’s believed that the kites fly to communicate with the spirits of their loved ones.

The six kites installed honor the children who lost their lives in ICE detention centers.

Jakelin Cal Maquin 7 years old from Guatemala.
Felipe Gomez Alonzo 8 Years old from Guatemala.
Carlos Gregorio Hernandez 16 years old from Guatemala.
Wilmer Josue Ramirez 2 1/2 yerl old from Guatemala.
Juan de Leon Gutierrez 16 years old from Guatemala.
Darlen Cristobel Cordova Valle from El Salvador.

El 1ro de Noviembre cada año la gente de Santiago Sacatepéquez y Sumpango, Guatemala, construyen cometas gigantes para volar o mostrar el Día de Muertos. Esta tradición cultural de Guatemala no solo es una exhibición de arte a través de la creación de cometas, sino también una manera ancestral de mantener la conexión con nuestros ancestros. Es creído que los papalotes volarán para comunicarse con los espíritus de nuestros seres amados.

Los seis cometas que construímos honran a los niños que perdieron sus vidas en centros de detención de ICE.

Jakelin Cal Maquin 7 años de Guatemala.
Felipe Gomez Alonzo 8 años de Guatemala.
Carlos Gregorio Hernandez 16 años de Guatemala.
Wilmer Josue Ramirez 2 1/2 años de Guatemala.
Juan de Leon Gutierrez 16 años de Guatemala.
Darlen Cristobel Cordova Valle de El Salvador.

Jackie Amézquita (b. 1985) is a bi-national artist/activist. Amézquita was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and migrated to the United States in 2003. Amézquita’s work explores the psycho-socio-geographical and political interactivity. As a result of her experiences as an immigrant woman, her practice has been influenced by her relationship to borders and the interaction with different cultures around the world. The artist has incorporated the use domestics and construction making techniques to explore a visual language that rebalances the power of socio-political relationships. This practice has allowed her to intertwine historical and contemporary references.

Julio cesar Toruño, (b.1993) in Matagalpa Nicaragua, is a biracial and binational artist working and living in Los Angeles. Toruño’s multidisciplinary practice works to unpack colonialization on the self, and social fabric of society. His work utilizes materials of labor, and historically recognized forms of cultural production, to hold a conversation about navigation and healing of the colonized psyche.

Mi Estori: Artist Collective

It is reported that nearly 1 in 5 hate crimes stem from homophobic and transphobic sentiments. The hatred felt for the LGBTQ+ community can be deadly and often leads to the highest murder rates in the country. However, hate crimes are not the only thing that LGBTQ+ people are dying from. LGBTQ+ people of color are twice as likely to avoid going to the doctor, 20-40% folks experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ+, 27% of LGBTQ+ people experience food insecurity, and it is reported that transgender individuals have twice the unemployment rate.
The intersections of undocumented LGBTQ+ people further complicates these statistics as they may not have the same access to resources and experience a higher rate of sexual assault and murder. The intersections of gender also contribute to discrimination as 21.2% of LGBTQ+ individuals also experience higher negative treatment when accessing reproductive health services. The statistics presented show that the communities’ suffering is rooted in hatred for the LGBTQ+ community. In 2020, we lost many people to the deadly COVID-19 and we have many LGBTQ+ people who were not counted because their sexual orientation and gender identity was not accepted and respected. We ask that heterosexual and cisgender allies use their privilege to help LGBTQ+ people in all issues that impact us and stand with us when trying to better our community.

Es reportado que casi 1 de cada 5 crímenes de odio son a raíz de sentimientos homofóbicos y transfobicos. El odio que es sentido por la comunidad LGBTQ+ puede ser mortal y muchas veces conduce a los más altos índices de homicidio en el país. Sin embargo, los crímenes de odio no son la única cosa de la que están muriendo las personas LGBTQ+ porque es sabido que las Personas de Color de la comunidad son propensas a evitar ir al doctor, del 20-40% de la gente sin techo son LGBTQ+, 27% de las personas LGBTQ+ experimentan inseguridad alimenticio, y es reportado que los individuos transgénero tienen el doble de la tasa de desempleo.
Las intersecciones de la gente LGBTQ+ que son indocumentados complica aún más estas estadísticas, ya que ellos no tienen el mismo acceso a recursos. Las personas LGBTQ+ indocumentadas experimentan índices más altos de abuso sexual y homicidio. Las intersecciones de género también contribuyen a la discriminación, ya que el 21.2% de individuos LGBTQ+ experimentan más tratamiento negativo al accesar servicios reproductivos. Las estadísticas presentadas muestran que el sufrimiento de la comunidad está enraizado en odio hacia la misma. En el 2020 perdimos a mucha gente por el COVID-19 y hay mucha gente LGBTQ+ que no fue contada porque su orientación sexual e identidad de género no fueron respetadas y aceptadas. Pedimos que los aliados heterosexuales y cisgénero usen su privilegio para ayudar a la gente LGBTQ+ en todos los problemas que nos impactan y alzarse con nosotros mientras mejoramos a nuestra comunidad.

Mi Estori was founded in 2017 by Erick Villegas-Nuñez and Charlie Ruiz Vazquez. Mi Estori was created in order to take space in predominantly white, cisgender, heterosexual, and able-bodied creative spaces and create spaces for creatives that are queer, trans, people of color, and people with disabilities.

South Central Farm
Honoring plant resilience, food justice and the role of land use in our food systems.

Honrando la resiliencia de las plantas, justicia alimentaria y el rol de la tierra en nuestros sistemas de alimentos.

The South Central Farm aims to promote the establishment and preservation of green and open space in South Central Los Angeles, a community where green and open space is rare, as well as promote urban farming, public health, and effective participation in the planning of developments that intimately affect every one of the residents that reside nearby.

Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos Public Art Installations

Location: Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center

Soul Survivors
curated by Kahlid Jefferson
Featuring Naliah Howze, Damien Carter, Andrew Quesada

2020 has been a year of collective trauma for everyone. However, racial disparities related to the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the continuous injustices against Black citizens have made it especially difficult for Black people. How does the Black community collectively heal in the face of systemic racism, and a virus that disproportionately affects people of color? 

In this exhibition, Soul Survivors, Los Angeles native photographers Nailah Howze, Damien Carter, and Andrew Quesada explore the meaning of healing in the black community. Historically Black America has developed unique ways of overcoming hardships. The braiding of hair, the natural synchronicity of song and dance, the unity in protest, the creativity of cooking Soul Food, the powerful connection created through worship. Images that serve as literal and metaphoric testaments of resistance. The three photographers layout a cohesive visual essay that highlights the process of perseverance. 

Organized by Khalid Jefferson, Soul Survivors brings together images that evoke empathy and collective healing. The printed photos will be treated with quotes and resources for seeking mental health advice.


Nailah Howze
Photographer Nailah Howze has a knack for making everyday people look like royalty. There’s a personal touch to her images that reflects the beauty and raw honesty of the Black experience in America. Through her lens, Nailah transforms flaws into strength and insecurities into confidence. She’s shown a particular affinity for shooting Black women, highlighting relatable characteristics that translate to extraordinary attributes when captured in a still image. Nailah’s photos serve as positive affirmations for a community always under-represented and often misunderstood. The power of her freelance portrait work is equally present in her commercial fashion photography as well. Nailah’s clients include Adidas, Puma, L’Oreal, Sony, Apple, Maxim, R&B star Kehlani, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and the late great Nipsey Hussle. She was awarded Teen Vogue’s “Photographer of the Week,” and was the 2017 winner of the Nook and Kranny “Photographer of the Year” award. Nailah continues to distinguish herself as one of the most promising photographers in Los Angeles.

Damien “SlauCienega” Carter
West Los Angeles street photographer Damien Carter has spent his years capturing candid images of local Black culture. A native Angeleno, Damien is affectionately known to many in the L.A. arts community as “SlauCienega” (a hybrid moniker adopted from the Slauson & La Cienega intersection, where he resides). Damien’s friends often joke about him rarely traveling north of Wilshire, but jokes aside SlauCienega is a guardian of the community. He approaches his work with a sense of protectionism. Although Los Angeles is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, Damien considers his L.A. (west of the 110) to be “very tiny, and continuously shrinking in the face of gentrification.” He documents the city’s Black culture as a preservationist with unwavering authenticity. Whether shooting album covers for the city’s most relevant artists, framing lowriders set against a palm tree skyline, or capturing the raw emotion of protestors at community gatherings, Slauceienega’s images speak volumes. Black voices are loud and clear in his work.

Andrew Quesada
Andrew Quesada fell in love with the art of photography as a curious kid growing up in Los Angeles. His father nurtured Andrew’s natural inclination towards film and photography. At age 6 Andrew was given his first professional camera, a 35mm Minolta SR2 film camera. At age 22 Andrew tattooed the Minolta SR2 on his left arm. Not only a symbol of commitment to his craft, the Minolta SR2 is the inspirational source behind Andrew’s cinematic aesthetic. As his generation began to establish itself in the Los Angeles arts community Andrew began to find his own voice as an artist. During “The Blog Era,” he captured some of L.A.’s most iconic music artists including Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Miguel, DOM KENNEDY, and Jansport J. Whether shooting models or musicians, Andrew’s work remains true to capturing authentic artists with unique identities. The city of Los Angeles is his ever-changing backdrop. 

Healing Sanctuaries
by Dancing Diaspora Collective
Photographed by Bobby Gordon

Dancing Diaspora Collective (DDC) is dedicated to honoring the embodied practices of
Black and Brown people from around the world through dance and healing practices. We will be drawing upon our own practices rooted in body-base and ancestral healing aiding us to gather,release, and shift from a body + mind lense. Healing Sanctuaries are powerful images of us and our personal sanctuaries: altars, movement, meditation, hierbas, and more that intertwine with the profound powers of nature. It is an invitation to our communities to investigate, play, and experiment with their own healing practices. What is your Sanctuary/ Qué es tu Santuario?

Photographed artists:
Isis Avalos
Jose Richard Aviles
Patricia “Patty” Huerta
Veline Mojarro
Erica Rey
Tatiana Zamir

Special Papel Picado
by Maricela Sosa

Papel picado is the traditional art of cutting elaborate designs into pieces of delicate tissue paper. The tradition of papel picado originated in the 19th century in San Salvador Huixcolotla, Puebla when paper from China was imported to Mexico. By the 20th century, the craft had spread throughout Mexico. Artisans craft papel picado by stacking 50 to 100 sheets underneath a template and then use special chisels and hammers to carve the designs. Papel picado is used for a variety of celebrations, not just Dia de los Muertos. It all depends on the imagery used. Calaveras, skeletons, candles, marigolds, names of loved ones, and cultural and religious icons are typically present in papel picado made for Dia de los Muertos. On traditional altars or ofrendas, the four elements – earth, water, fire, wind – are represented and papel picado represents the element of air.

Maricela Sosa is a self-taught artist working in Northeast Los Angeles. She works mainly with children teaching drawing, painting and mixed media art classes. Maricela is also a paper cutter working in the Mexican style known as papel picado. She learned this traditional folk art by watching and working with her mother, master papel picado artist Margaret Sosa. Papel Picado is the Mexican style of paper cutting in which tissue paper is cut into intricate designs that are then glued on a string and used to decorate festive events and to adorn altars.

Digital Programs

Bike Ofrenda Workshop
by Sandra de la Loza

Watch Los Angeles based artist Sandra de la Loza convert her bike into a mobile ofrenda in the spirit of Día de los Muertos. This is a fun, easy, and family-friendly workshop that invites you to be creative with materials that you have at home. Make paper calacas, decorate your wheels with handmade spokes, and altars on handlebars or a cargo rack. Then go on a bike ride through the city and honor your ancestors.

Sandra de la Loza is a Los Angeles artist and educator whose research-based practice investigates the underlayers of our present landscape as a means to decolonize, heal ancestral trauma, and to create circles that enable other social and environmental relations to happen. Her work has been exhibited in major museums, alternative art spaces, and community centers within the United States, Latin America, and Europe.

Self Help Graphics 47th Annual Día de los Muertos Virtual Celebration, Featuring Noche de Ofrenda segment with Grand Park

Featured artists:

endy bernal
endy trece is an intermedia community artist. Her performance and visual work is rooted in her indigenous cultural traditions, and branches out through her intercultural ceremonials, exchanges, study and travel. Butoh is a strong influence in her work, as she has studied with Semimaru of Sankai Juku, as well as Yoshito Ohno among other butoh masters in Japan.

Her art practice includes creating an installation about an ecological or social issue in public space and performing a dance sequence in it for 4-6 hours. The intention of her practice is to provide inspiration to look within, contemplate and discuss important issues.

She has performed throughout California, Texas and New York as well as in Mexico, France and Japan. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Science, and is a National Association of Latino Arts & Culture Advanced Leadership  Institute Alumni.

As an arts and culture leader, she is one of the co-founders of TONALLI STUDIO in East Los Angeles and has been a part of the Board of Directors at Pacto Latino and the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego. She is currently the president of the Board of Directors at Self Help Graphics and Art in Tongva Territory (aka Los Angeles). 

Gloria Enedina Alvarez: Chicana poet/intermedia artist, playwright, librettist, literary translator and curator, presently teaches creative writing and works as a consultant in public schools, universities, libraries, museums, and art centers. Her literary/artistic efforts have been recognized by the CAC, National Endowment for the Arts, Cultural Affairs Department, City of L.A., COLA Award, Poets & Writers, Inc., National Latino Arts Network, MAESTRO Award, among others. She has published and read widely in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. Her plays and librettos for opera, Los Biombos, Cuento de un Soldado/Story of a Soldier, El Niño, have been produced locally and internationally. Her books of poetry in English and Spanish include La Excusa/The Excuse and Emerging en un Mar De Olanes and spoken word/music c.d.s , Centerground and Between Epiphanies. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and numerous periodicals internationally.

Starting at a young age, and for the past 35 years, he has performed in various and diverse bands, ranging from North American Western influenced to Blues, Rock and Roll, Punk Rock, Jazz, and everything in between. His multi-genre musical fluidity has allowed for expansion and experimentation with diverse sounds and tones, leading him to exploratory projects, that merged the different cultural music genres of World music. Living in the 90’s During the late 90’s, along with Angel Garcia, Hernandez co-founded the much-heralded and pioneering music project Mezklah. Mezklah embodied and marked the evolution of the new burgeoning sound of L.A., with their unique hybrid electronica tunes, set to local cultural sounds and rich tribal overtones, resulting in a distinctive and completely new sound. They have been described as a very intelligent mixture of traditional Latin music, alternative rock, jungle, reggae, dub, and drum-andbass. With an innovative presence that included, among other things, performance art, Mezklah had a sound and stage presence that was truly unparalleled and artistic, gaining the reputation as “one of L.A.’s most powerful and promising alt-Latino bands.” (Los Angeles Times). Mezklah took their sound internationally, touring in Latin America, Europe and Japan. Most notably, Mezklah played to a crowd of 20,000 at Mexico City’s La Feria del Libro festival. They also went on to open for notable acts such as Ozomatli, Kinky, Maldita Vencidad , Antibalas and has worked with Ry Cooder during time of his conceptual album Chavez Ravine.

Greg “Goyo” Hernandez has worked with Johnny Avila of Oingo Boingo producing music for San Diego band Marujah for Latin Grammy Nomination and most recently of Dec of 2019 working a new indie Documentary politicized around the military complex waste of native lands of Tuscon Arizona. During this time Greg Hernandez Teamed up tv commercial with Danny Haro actor of the movie American Me and now producer and director. Music and the Theatre From 2010 to present, Hernandez has continued his musical trajectory as a hired musician and performer, who has also expanded his creative outlets to include writing and recording with various notable bands in Los Angeles, San Diego and New Mexico. As an enthusiast for Soundscape theatre and story-telling, Hernandez finally found the opportunity to merge all his collective musical experience with his passions, resulting in the film scoring and writing of original music composition for the Latinx (using Latinx is optional, some people like it others don’t, but Latino could also then be Latina/o) comedy film, Lola’s Love Shack. Produced by Migrant Film Works and distributed by Indican Pictures in 2013, Lola’s Love Shack won the Audience Award at the Reel Rasquache Film Festival and was screened at various film festivals internationally. That same year, Hernandez went on to compose another original film score for the comedy web series Monkeyfunkles. Music as a Mode of Empowerment Maleco Collective For Hernandez, music is not only a way to emotionally connect with his audience, he also understands it to be a universal language, whose frequency and sound can help stir thoughts, ideas and awaken positive vibrations as a way to convey imagination. Music as an evocation of the human spirit, a mode of empowerment, but also as a vehicle to support visual and spoken expressions, be it within a cinematographic sphere, spoken word, live theatre, or any other space and art production in which sound and music are elemental components of a collaborative venture. Since Current Pandemic Greg Hernandez has been working remotely from the home studio recording, writing,arranging original musical concepts along writing a travel blog called “Goyo on the Go” to inspire, escape and educate of recent past backpacking travels throughout South East Asia past three years between being active on the Los Angeles Music Scene. As of Oct 2020 Greg “Goyo” Hernandez has again recorded with San Diego’s hardest working border band Marujah which in 2018 is credited with guitar work on the album “UpRising” produced by Johnny Avila of Oingo Boingo that won best album by San Diego Music Award’s and won a nomination in Latin Grammys 2018. During the Pandemic Marujah has won the accolade of being 2020 SDMA winner again with great projections for the upcoming 2021 Latin Grammy’s and as always humble to lend helping hand.

Danza Divina de Los Ángeles is the work of Indigital Productions, an L.A. based multimedia production company. Our mission is to elevate Danza Azteca onto the world stage, while preserving tradition and elevating the design of Aztec dance. Danza Divina de Los Angeles is an intergenerational dance troupe under the direction of Jeniffer Sanchez. DDLA blends mesoamerican myth with contemporary urban stories using traditional dance, instruments and modern technologies.

Jeniffer Sanchez is a Los Angeles-based artist, danzante, choreographer, director, producer and founder of Indigital Productions. At age 9, she began studying and performing traditional Danza Azteca with renowned Aztec Dance Pioneer, General Lazaro Arvizu. Her artwork operates at the intersection of performance art, theatre, multimedia and Mesoamerican traditions. Her newest work, “Exploring the Gods,” is an all-woman, multimedia, Aztec Dance performance that introduces seven different Aztec deities.  Exploring the Gods is the introduction to a work in progress called “La Ofrenda”, which is an adaptation of the Aztec creation story of the 5th Sun.

Performance description:

Opening– Blessing of the space- this is done with copal we turn to the four directions, the sky and earth. This is done to acknowledge and give thanks to all of the elements and to clear the space of any unwanted energy. This ensures a good dance and is done before all our dances. 

Guajito– (small gourd)this dance is dedicated to water.  It will be done by Doreen Sanchez, she will be in a traje (regalia) representing the water goddess  Chalchiuhtlicue. 

Guerrilleros– warrior dance, will be done by Valerie Estrada (8yrs old) and Emily Estrada (12yrs old). These young ladies are cousins. This will be followed by a short procession around one of the dancers that died in battle. 

Muerte– this dance is dedicated to Mictlantecihuatl, the goddess of the underworld and is performed by  Jeniffer Sanchez. This dance depicts Mictlantecihuatl convincing the recent dead to follow her to Mictlan. 

Itzpapalotl– is a dance dedicated to the obsidian butterfly, who aids the woman who dies giving birth. This dance will be done by Brit Rios, Emily Estrada, Sara Graeff and Isabella Estrada (5 yrs old). 

NYELA 2018 Featured Artists

We have an amazing list of artists to help bring in the new year.

Featured Artists

Dexter Story and the All-Star New Year’s Eve Band, featuring Raquel Rodriguez, Jimetta Rose, Kenneth Crouch, Kam Talbert, and more

Dexter Story is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, songwriter, producer, and music director. After earning an undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and performing with a diverse array of musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Ernie Watts, John Stubblefield, Slide Hampton, Jeff Narell, Kamasi Washington, Gaslamp Killer, Nick Rosen, and Les Nubians among others. His latest and most notable endeavors are music directing Summer 2015’s stellar Wattstax Revisited and Summer 2016’s Soy Africano concerts at Grand Performances, and producing Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recording artist Daymé Arocena’s acclaimed album Cubafonia.



Eclectic Soul singer born and raised in Los Angeles, Raquel Rodriguez and crew deliver music with a soulful, gritty groove that people love to dance and party to. Commanding the stage, Raquel’s live show is engaging and a crowd favorite at clubs and festivals across the country. With a potent blend of femme and aggression, she serves up sassy, heartfelt vocals which caught the ears of artists like Nigel Hall (Lettuce), Adam Deitch (Lettuce) and Borahm Lee of Break Science, Moby, as well as LA’s very own, Anderson .Paak. You can catch Raquel with Paak on his Cover Art album as well on his summer ‘Malibu’ tour. You may also recognize her as one of the fiery singers gracing the stage with him everywhere from Coachella to the Late Night Show starring Jimmy Fallon. The LA soulstress has also received airplay and support from music and culture tastemaker Garth Trinidad, DJ at top ranking NPR station KCRW and music editor for LA Canvas.  Her recent release, The 310, produced by Nigel Hall and Sam Brawner is now available everywhere!

Los Angeles native, Jimetta Rose has become a mainstay in the Los Angeles independent music scene while simultaneously digging firm roots into LA’s burgeoning creative renaissance drawing inspiration from jazz, R&B and Hip-Hop. One word that embodies Jimetta’s complex and mesmerizing sound is: SOUL. With her talent, style, and dedication to unfiltered creative expression, it should come as no surprise that Jimetta Rose counts among her friends and colleagues, many of the most popular artists and Dj’s in the Los Angeles music scene and abroad, which include Miguel Atwood Ferguson, Med and Blu, The Decoders, Alice Russell, Talib Kweli, Meshell N’Dgeocello, Erykah Badu, Joi Gilliam, Shuggie Otis, Zap Mama, Seu George, Shafiq Husayn, Dj House Shoes, and many more.

Born in LA, Kenneth was classically trained as a child, and in his teens broadened the range of his keyboard skills by embracing both gospel and jazz influences. Influenced by artist such as his uncle Andrae Crouch, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul and Bill Evans, he embarked on his musical career at the age of 15. As well as recording with Eric Clapton, over the years Kenneth has gone into the studio with many prominent artists, including The Temptations, Toni Braxton, Lenny Kravitz, Nancy Wilson and Vanessa Williams. He has appeared live in concert with Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Babyface.

Kam Talbert also known as “KamPAIGN” is a performer with multiple talents. He has a countless number of projects as a vocalist and singer collaborating with local Los Angeles artist, international artist, producers, and even well-known stars. Kam is also a playwright helping to write and produce an original musical called “The Museum of Living Art”. A project that was a collaboration with Jimetta Rose & Nappy Nation Productions. KamPAIGN is currently a curator of music and video for artist community, an online production company founded and run by Joseph Gordon Levitt.

You can currently hear Francesca Harding over the airwaves as co-host, producer and DJ on Los Angeles’ 90.7FM KPFK for Soundwaves Radio. Her Dj mixes have been featured on Jay Z’s blog, Life and Times as well as the El Sonido show on Seattle’s 90.3 FM. Francesca has spun internationally for crowds in the UK, Mexico City, Colombia, the Bahamas and South Korea, and regularly works for corporate clients in the Los Angeles area, including Numark and Elle Magazine.

Most recently, Francesca joined forces with L.A. based Dj-duo, the Beat Ventriloquists, to form a production collective called “Wear Patterns”. The trio has thus far released two singles that have garnered worldwide radio play and have graced the pages of LA Weekly, Earmilk, Large Up & Discobelle. “Wear Patterns” is set to drop their self-titled EP in spring 2018. With a broad taste in music and impressive technical skills, it is no surprise that Francesca Harding continues her reign as one of the most sought-after Dj’s in LA and beyond.

Born in Fresno, California and raised in Bakersfield, Mr Choc’s success comes from a lifelong passion for music. In 1995, he was picked up by Los Angeles’ Power 106 and broadcast in three cities and during his seven-year tenure, the station had the number one mixshow for three consecutive years.

In 1996 Choc became a member of the Beat Junkies Crew (Rhettmatic, Melo-D, Shortkut, Babu), one of the most respected DJs crew in the world. Gaining membership in this exclusive crew had a profound impact on Choc: “it showed me that despite everything I had learned in DJing at that point, there was still a lot more to learn. It also made me love my craft a little more because I was finally surrounded by people who understood it and loved it just as much as I did.” Today, as Director of Scratch-LA, Choc imparts his knowledge on to hungry and eager students. He also continues to hold down multiple residencies and parties throughout SoCal.

 DJ Babu – a member of the acclaimed Dilated Peoples and the Beat Junkies, this world renowned DJ is more than accustomed to feeling the expansive power of music at his fingertips. Winning countless DJ competitions in the 1990s such as the DMC Championship in 1997 and multiple ITF titles, Babu has gained the nickname “The Turntablist.” It couldn’t be more appropriate.

Now one of the most respected names in the world of DJs, the battle hardened Babu has set his sights on producing. “I’ve been going through a transition over the last three or four years into the producer realm, the beat making realm. It’s something that I’ve definitely been growing and nurturing over the years. I’m trying to bring my DJ fan base along to realize that I’ve been flipping beats and breaks and chopping up samples for years on the turntables, now I tryin to show ’em I do that in the studio too. I’ll always maintain my Dj career but lately I’ve been trying to flood the scene with my beats to make people take me seriously as a producer.”

D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American actor/writer/comedian whose work ranges stand-up comedy, solo theater, plays, films and music production, poetry and spoken word. He is a co-producer for DisOriented Comedy (mostly female Asian-American nationally touring stand-up comedy showcase) with Jenny Yang and Atsuko Okatsuka.

The documentary by Crescent Diamond based on D’Lo’s life/work, called Performing Girl, won the best short documentary award at Outfest 2013, and he was part of the Emmy-Nominated mini-doc series THIS IS ME produced by Rhys Ernst and Zackary Drucker. His tv/film credits include co-starring in the HBO series LOOKING as Taj, on the Amazon series TRANSPARENT and the Netflix series SENSE 8.

Aside from touring and facilitating workshops on the university/college circuit with D’FaQTo Life (defacto), D’Lo has also been touring his solo shows. His first solo show, Ramble-Ations: A One D’Lo Show (dir Adelina Anthony) received the NPN Creation Fund Grant inclusive of residencies in 9 US cities with additional support from the Durfee Foundation Grant, D’FunQT. His full-length stand-up storytelling show D’FunQT (defunct), directed by Steven Sapp of Universes in NYC (Ken Sawyer in LA), has toured internationally (SF, NY, Manchester, UK and 7-city tour in India and Sri Lanka – with additional funds received by through the Ford Foundation travel grant to host workshops for queer & trans theater artists in Chennai, India).

After a sold out 3 weekend run in NYC in the summer of 2017, D’Lo is continuing to develop his latest solo show To T, or not To T for a world premiere in Los Angeles. His work has been published in various anthologies and academic journals, including: Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asia America and Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic (co-edited by Sharon Bridgforth) and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics.

D’Lo is the creator of the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series which have taken place with South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ Organizations nationally, which provide a transformative space for workshop participants to write through their personal narratives and share their truths through a public reading. These workshops are specifically designed to provide emotional and spiritual support for individuals working through the complexity of their intersecting identities.

The LA County Library Turns the Tables workshop series had its start at the Compton Library in February 2017, as a Library Services and Technology Act grant program funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered in California by the State Librarian. Compton Turns the Tables offered teens and young adults the opportunity to learn DJ skills for free. Open to student ages 15 to 21, “Compton Turns the Tables” brought a series of ten DJ classes plus a mobile DJ lab to Compton Library.

Led by instructor DJ Lynnée Denise, a professional DJ and professor at Cal State LA, the workshop allowed students to gain hands-on experience with DJ controllers, while augmenting DJ training with instruction in music history, basic theory, techniques, developing a DJ business plan, including marketing and promotion. The course concluded with a concert and showcase that celebrated the students’ achievements and featured celebrity performers. Its overwhelming success led to the approval of additional funding from LA County’s Fourth Supervisorial District office and South Whittier Turns the Tables, held at the South Whittier Library, finished up workshops with a showcase held on November 18. Next in line is San Fernando Turns the Tables, scheduled to begin on January 12, 2018 and East LA turns the Tables to follow in late spring or early summer. Student DJs from Compton Turns the Tables and South Whittier turns the Tables have been given the opportunity to perform their skills at the LA County Library Staff Development Day, a special event held at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, and the grand openings of LA County Los Nietos and Artesia libraries.



5 years together…

Summer 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of Grand Park, “The Park for Everyone.” In just five years, Grand Park has embodied its slogan and become L.A.’s crossroads, town green and communal backyard. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Angelenos and visitors pass through this special place. They come to capture serene moments in their workweek. They come to splash in the fountain with their families. They come to dance, eat, watch, move or create at one of Grand Park’s hundreds of free events. They come to march and let their voices be heard. They come to ring in the New Year surrounded by fellow Angelenos.

Anniversaries are occasions to reflect back on the memories and the journey. Grand Park’s journey is a story of a million Angelenos who believed in it and have shaped it and made it their own. The Big LA Portrait Gallery is a thank you to those Angelenos. THEY are what has made Grand Park the success that it is.

The Big LA Portrait Gallery is modeled on the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. whose mission is “to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development and culture.” At Grand Park, we are celebrating part of the story of Los Angeles, stories of its people. It is their passion, creativity, humanity, humor, commitment, and diversity that make Los Angeles such a wonderful place.

The 100 portraits of Angelenos were shot by 10 Los Angeles photographers, each asked to capture their L.A. For some the portraits are centered around place such as Sam Comen’s Central Ave. For others, they reflect communities of shared interest such as Joe Pugliese’s Sunday’s Best. These ten series show just a few of L.A.’s thousands of distinct groups all connected to each other in different, powerful, and meaningful ways.

Grand Park was created to be a place of connection and this project honors and celebrates our unique interconnectedness and the vibrant and powerful fabric of L.A.. Thank you Los Angeles for making the first five years so wonderful. Here is to many more!

-Julia Diamond

Interim Director, Grand Park

In the spirit of Angeleno expression, Grand Park reached out to the photographers to pick their brains about their experiences as photographers and artists in Los Angeles.

How does Los Angeles inspire  you as a subject for photography?



I shoot where I roam. I roam Los Angeles. Mostly east of the river and downtown. But I’m moved by all of Los Angeles, its complexity. It has never ending pockets, layers of human individuality in constant flux.

-Rafael Cardenas



I’m inspired to shoot in Los Angeles because it always seems to be at the frontier of history. This place is in flux, always on the verge. Nothing is static: and that’s incredibly interesting to photograph. I think it comes down to the myriad communities that call LA home — we’re reinventing the city as we reinvent ourselves.  It’s exciting to be part of LA, and to make photographs that examine it’s constant evolution.

-Sam Comen




The light in Los Angeles is hazy and lingering making for endless inspiration.

-Jessica Sample




LA inspires me because it is a place of seekers; they’ve come to realize a dream, however illusory. It’s a land of fantasy and escape, of Peter Pan’s staving off adulthood, compromise, the drudgery of insignificance. Most won’t see their name in lights. And the inevitable let-down and disappointment that comes with falling short – sometimes way short, brings pathos into the picture. Sometimes the dreamer finds that it’s ok that things didn’t quite work out as anticipated. They find another path that may not be grand, but nonetheless brings them satisfaction, a feeling of value.

-Gregg Segal

Los Angeles has always inspired me, from long before I knew it as a place that existed in reality. When I arrived here as a young adult it took years to reconcile the city in my mind and in my eye. It revealed itself slowly to be different from the one I knew as a setting and a backdrop for so many works of music, film and fiction. In the actual Los Angeles, I found a much more diverse and exciting collection of character and spirit than is often seen from the outside. Even now after so many years photographing the people of Los Angeles, I am still only beginning to discover what and who this city is made of.

-Joe Pugliese

LA is known as the entertainment capital of the world, but to me it’s so much more that that. When you dig a little deeper you find all these hidden gems that are underrepresented in the media and these are the kinds of stories that inspire me the most about this city. 

-Jessica Pons

The Big L.A. Portrait Gallery is part of an awesome summer of free fun.