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Meet Allan DiCastro of Art + Practice in Leimert Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allan DiCastro.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Allan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In 2004, Art + Practice started as a discussion between philanthropist and collector Eileen Harris Norton, artist Mark Bradford and myself. We wanted to establish an exhibition space in South LA where the community could experience free museum-curated contemporary art. We also wanted to support a local population in need. It took us a while to decide upon what population we’d support. Through research, we decided to address the needs of transition-aged foster youth living in South Los Angeles.

The overarching goals have always been about exposure and access.

Has it been a smooth road?
One of the struggles is that we’ve had to switch gears and adapt a few times to the lessons learned along the way. For instance, we initially planned to host A+P’s foster youth programs in a small, fairly public storefront in Leimert Park, but as we became more educated as to the size of the foster care issue in Los Angeles County, A+P established the program in a larger, more private space. Similarly, we had also envisioned a smaller exhibition space, but when presented with the opportunity to purchase another building, we decided to expand the exhibition space into a new space, on W. 43rd Place and Degnan Boulevard, which opened in November 2016.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Art + Practice – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
A+P collaborates with museum institutions to organize free museum-curated exhibitions in South Los Angeles, where there are virtually no museums. Our past museum collaborators have included the Hammer Museum, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Frist Art Museum and the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. We are currently in collaboration with The Broad.

Additionally, A+P hosts public programs throughout the year including lectures, film screenings, exhibition walkthroughs and other special events that highlight the curatorial ideas generated from the exhibitions on view and continue A+P’s tradition of celebrating artists of color.

A+P is also in collaboration with First Place for Youth, a nonprofit social service provider that provides support services for foster youth (ages 18 to 24) who are transitioning out of the foster care system and into independent lifestyles.

A+P’s contemporary art and foster youth programs intersect at specific points. For example, A+P hires foster youth from First Place in paid internship positions in A+P’s gallery and admin office. Security & Community Engagement interns serve as security guards and visitor evaluators in A+P’s exhibition space. The interns participate in trainings, including management of aggressive behavior, First Aid and CPR as well as receive their California guard card. The Admin and Communications intern is trained to assist with managing communications, exhibitions and public programs. Additionally, all interns may attend training days at Hauser & Wirth gallery and the Hammer Museum, which are collaborators of A+P, to learn more about the art world, arts administration and available career pathways at a gallery or museum.

For those foster youth pursuing their education, A+P provides a $100,000 grant to First Place to distribute to the youth as scholarships on an as-needed basis. This annual grant is intended to bridge gaps such as high tuition costs, childcare, purchasing school supplies and/or transportation that foster youth otherwise would not have funds to pay.

Lastly, A+P invites local schools to tour A+P’s museum-curated exhibitions. For those schools within a 7-mile radius A+P pays for bus transportation. A+P works with a local educator to design teacher resource guides and student handouts for grades K through 12. These materials integrate the California State Content Standards for the English Language Arts (ELA) and Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA).

Pricing:

  • All contemporary art programs at A+P are free and open to all.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 3401 W. 43rd Place
    Los Angeles, CA 90008
  • Phone: 3233376887
  • Email: office@artandpractice.org

Students from View Park Preparatory visit “Maren Hassinger: The Spirit of Things” at Art + Practice in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. 11 April 2018. Photo by Natalie Hon.

Opening reception for “Head Back and High: Senga Nengudi, Performance Objects (1976-2017)” at Art + Practice in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. 23 June 2018. Photo by Josiah Green.

Opening Reception and walkthrough for “Maren Hassinger: The Spirit of Things” at Art + Practice in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. 24 February 2018. Photo by Josiah Green.

A+P staff, interns, and artist Maren Hassinger install “Maren Hassinger: The Spirit of Things” at Art + Practice in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Still from digital video by Mark Bradford Studio.

The Art + Practice exhibition space in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. 13 December 2016. Photo by Natalie Hon.

Filmmaker Ben Caldwell and The Broad’s Programs Manager and exhibition co-curator Jheanelle Brown lead a walkthrough of “Time is Running Out of Time: Experimental Film and Video from the L.A Rebellion and Today” 26 February 2019. Photo by Leah Case .

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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