Community Arts Organization

Visual Communications

Based in the Little Tokyo area of Downtown Los Angeles, VC was founded in 1970 by a group of pioneering independent filmmakers to record, collect, and preserve a visual record of Asian Pacific American cultural heritage. VC originally worked as a film collective, concentrating on honestly portraying accurate images of Asian Americans and meticulously capturing pivotal social movements. VC produced groundbreaking works about the Asian American experience, including: CHINATOWN 2-STEP, a documentary on the suburbanization of Chinese American community in Los Angeles and the role of the Chinatown Drum and Bugle Corps; MANONG, a film on the first generation Filipino American immigrants; and WATARIDORI, a documentary on early Japanese American immigrant pioneers. VC published three books, In Movement: A Pictorial History of Asian Pacific America, Little Tokyo: One Hundred Years in Pictures, and Moving the Image: Independent Asian Pacific American Media Arts. Productions were used for education and activism that addressed setting up ethnic studies programs on local campuses, city redevelopment issues, the redress campaign for Japanese Americans interned during World War II, and the declaration of martial law in the Philippines. VC’s own past in all media, narrative films, documentaries and educational projects are intertwined with the Asian Pacific American movements of the 1970s, and in itself represents a rich resource for researchers of the Asian Pacific American movements. The Archives’ purpose is to document the history of the organization by organizing, preserving, and creating access to a variety of media art and primary materials recording impactful political moments and depicting the Asian Pacific American heritage for staff use, as well as by scholars who are interested in Visual Communications’ role in the Asian American communities and history. The holdings include over 300,000 photographic images, 1,500 titles in the Media Resource Library, 100 films and videos produced by Visual Communications, and over 1,000 hours of oral histories of pan-Asian Pacific American content. As a valuable resource of Asian media art representations, The Archives is open to a wide variety of users, and we encourage the public, artists, filmmakers, students, faculty and others to pursue an intercultural understanding of the Asian American heritage. VC’s vision for the archives is to accurately reflect and represent the diversity of the American populace and to cement Asian Pacific American experiences in the historical record through the preservation, access, and dissemination of our materials, which provide historical context and insight of Asian Pacific American influence not only for Asian Pacific Americans, but also for all Americans. Please refer to our list of holdings for more information: http://fromthevcvault.wordpress.com/vc-archives-collections/

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse

We are a creating an archive of costumes, photos, newspaper articles, letters, and other ephemera to document the history of the Mission Play from 1911 to present, and the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse from 1927 - present. The archive will serve an important role in early California/Los Angeles history.

Venice: Yesterday/Today or still crazy after all these years

16 b/w photographic diptychs marrying images from the Venice Historic Society to modern images of Helen K. Garber. ©2012 Prints and digital files. Published as the 2013 Venice Community Calendar and exhibited at Universal Gallery, Venice, CA 2012, Photo LA, 2013

Santa Monica History Museum

The Santa Monica Historical Society was founded in 1975 as part of the city’s centennial celebration with the mission of collecting and preserving the history, art and culture of the Santa Monica Bay Area. In 1988, a Museum was established to house the Society’s growing collections of artifacts, documents, rare books, newspapers, textiles, artwork, and photographic images. Currently, the Museum’s Image Archives comprise over 500,000 photographs and negatives depicting the local history of Santa Monica, Ocean Park, Santa Monica Canyon, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Venice and Marina del Rey. The Outlook Newspaper Collection, one of the Museum’s primary holdings, consists of newspapers in hardcopy and on microfilm, extensive files by people and subject headings, and an estimated 400,000 photographs and negatives. Operating from 1875 at the time of the city’s founding until 1998 when the publication ceased its operations, the daily newspaper covered local, regional, state and national events. With an award-winning staff of professional photographers, the newspaper produced a significant archive of images that comprehensively portray the cultural, political and social life of the Santa Monica Bay Area communities. In addition, the archive contains images of major events taking place in the greater Los Angeles area, including cultural affairs, politics, features, sports, celebrities, presidential visits and conventions, the Los Angeles riots and earthquakes, fires and floods. The Museum also houses the collections of Outlook Newspaper photographers Bill Beebe, consisting of approximately 75,000 images from the 1930s to the 1960s, and Bob Smith, consisting of approximately 6,000 images from the 1960s to the 1990s. The Museum’s Image Archives also include publisher Diane Margolin’s City Scene images, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Collection and the Museum’s extensive collection of early Santa Monica photographs.

Angels Gate Cultural Center

Angels Gate is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting the visual and performing arts and to the celebration of ethnic and cultural diversity through exhibitions, concerts, classes, workshops, and poetry readings. Founded in 1981, Angels Gate rents studio space to forty artists and exhibits their work. The annual exhibition schedule includes both a series of group shows (seven to eight per year) and a featured-artist-of-the-month series. Although Angels Gate is not a collecting organization, the site itself and the ten buildings that Angels Gate occupies are historic, and Angels Gate owns several steel sculptures that are on permanent display on the site.

Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum holds a wide variety of materials documenting the Japanese American experience from a Japanese American perspective. Built around broad historical eras and themes of Japanese American experience, the holdings are used to fulfill the museum’s mission "to promote understanding and appreciation of America's ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience." The National Museum's general collection includes bibliographic materials, three-dimensional objects, fine art, photographs, oral history recordings, and moving images. The museum also maintains a public research library and archival collections.

Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC)

SPARC’s MREC is one of the country’s largest repositories of information about murals and other forms of public art. SPARC produces, exhibits, and preserves public art works and is particularly committed to enhancing the visibility of work which reflects the lives and concerns of American’s diverse ethnic populations, women, working people, youth and elderly. We have an extensive collection of journals, magazines, newspaper articles, over 30,000 slides and artists registry which are visited by hundreds of students, educators, scholars, artists, and art historians. Our tours highlight the community based public art works, which communicate the voices and visions of the complex neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The collection of renowned Chicana artist and SPARC’s Founder/Artistic Director, Judith F. Baca’s art work is managed by SPARC as well. We have the largest archives on murals, public art, graffiti, etc. in Los Angeles.

East Los Streetscapers

East Los Streetscapers was founded in 1975 by Wayne Alaniz Healy and David Rivas Botello, both veterans of the East Los Angeles mural movement. Among the public art projects produced by this team are paintings, tiles, bas-reliefs, and sculptures in a wide variety of materials. The designs are multicultural, strong, dynamic, colorful, site specific, and compositionally dramatic in line and texture. The East Los Streetscapers' collaborative works frequently involve other Chicano artists. The archives of the East Los Streetscapers contain all of the creative and documentary records related to the team's artwork, both public and private. In its collection are original concepts, designs, cartoons, maquettes, and finished art pieces.

Armory Center for the Arts

The Armory Center for the Arts has three fully operable letterpresses and much of the printed work from the Woman's Building's Graphic Arts Center, which closed in 1991. Among the printed materials are examples by former artists and students at the Woman's Building. The bulk of this work reflects the importance and emergence of a woman's "voice" in the visual arts.

Community Arts Resources, Inc. (CARS)

Since 1989, CARS has been breaking down barriers between the public and the arts. It offers Los Angeles artists and artists visiting the area guidance and access to the local resources they need for their work and for reaching new audiences. CARS also consults on the production of events in public venues and on the creation of new public spaces for the arts in urban settings. CARS maintains a state-of-the-art database of over fifty-seven thousand artists, arts organizations, venues, and audience members. This contemporary and constantly updated database is used to provide mailing lists to artists and as a networking tool. In addition, CARS has published two resource guides for artists: Doing It Right in LA (1990) and Southern California Performing Arts Venues (1993). CARS is not a collecting organization.