Friday, May 18, 2007

Stop the Presses!

An arts program in Los Angeles needs our support! Self Help Graphics and Arts, a program that supports Latinos artists in printmaking. The East L.A. arts center has felt the bite of reduced federal and private-sector grant money (since we have this great big war we have to pay for), and is on the verge of having to close its doors. Self Help is seeking alternate sources of grant money, but, as anyone who has applied for artistic or academic grants knows, this is a lengthy process that will require time -- time Self Help doesn't have at the moment.

One look at the samples of their past exhibits will tell you this is would be a huge loss for the arts in this city. Exhibits aside, take a gander at their building! With every passing year, art programs that aren't a part of the entertainment industry (live theatre, live dance, visual arts programs) are vanishing because conservative political forces conspire to syphon funds away from the NEA and local arts sponsors. Programs are being eliminated in our public schools and state-funded universities, and the people feeling this most acutely are people in economically challenged areas. Less grant money means less opportunity for struggling new artists who cannot afford to sponsor their own shows and display and promote their own work, especially in predominantly minority communities. Nothing marginalizes a community more than silencing its artistic voice.

Self Help's website speaks for itself, so I won't ramble on about it. They provide support for artists who might not otherwise find a venue for their work, and gives them the skills and opportunity to get that work shown publicly. That warrants saving. As someone who isn't a visual artist (but plays one on the computer), I ask you to do whatever you can to assist Self Help in reaching its $100K fundraising goal. I know that you guys are being pulled in a lot of directions, moneywise, but a lot of small gifts can go a long way.



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