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.

Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts and Education

The Plaza private arts are a collective of four distinct collections. Each one focused in its own area of interest: The Vincent Price Collection contains twenty two pieces of ceramic, wood, and stone artifacts that are very fine pieces of historical note; The Plaza Hispanic Art Collection is a grouping of twenty eight paintings, prints and works on paper that emphasize the art of modern and contemporary artists; The Plaza Folk Art Collection is a gathering of one thousand, nine hundred and forty varied and mostly anonymous items produced in areas all over Mexico (the art works are all executed in a traditional or unschooled manner usually referred to as ‘folk’ or ‘primitive’); The Jose Galvez Collection contains one hundred eighty photographs donated to Plaza in 1989 by the artist himself. The images are a sampling of ten years of photographing the patrons of events held at Lincoln Park. There are a total of two thousand one hundred and seventy individual items that make up the Private Art Collection.

Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

Outfest's collection is based on sixteen years of presenting films and videos about the gay and lesbian community. Although much of the collection is not Los Angeles-based, Los Angeles is referenced a great deal. The collection contains approximately five hundred titles.

McGroarty Art Center Friends

Longtime Verdugo Hills resident John Steven McGroarty was a playwright, columnist, lawyer, congressman, and poet of California. He lived for many years at Rancho Chupa Rosa, a small hacienda near Tujunga that the City of Los Angeles bought in 1953 and now uses to host culture and craft classes. At the turn of the twentieth century, McGroarty crusaded for the restoration of California's early landmarks, especially the missions that once distinguished the state's landscape. In 1911, with the publication of The Mission Play, a drama about Father Junipero Serra and the rise and fall of the California missions, McGroarty became a popular playwright. The play opened in San Gabriel on 29 April 1912. In addition to other plays, including La Golondrina, Osceola, and Babylon, McGroarty wrote poems, novels, historical works, and the Los Angeles Times column "From the Green Verdugo Hills. "The McGroarty Art Center's collection contains the library and memorabilia of John Steven McGroarty, and the center's archival holdings include plays, books, and Los Angeles Times articles written by McGroarty.

First Street Gallery Art Center

First Street Gallery/Art Center is founded on the proposition that human potential for creativity and artistic expression is not limited by physical or developmental disabilities. The gallery presents new exhibitions year-round of artwork produced at the center, and artists receive 60 percent of proceeds from sale of their work. First Street's collection includes art in a variety of mediums by adult artists with developmental disabilities.