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Cultural Tsunami in ELA

Work on solutions to keep Self Help Graphics Open

By La Mexica Mujer
Published on LatinoLA: July 5, 2005


Cultural Tsunami in ELA


There is a cultural tsunami in ELA, Self Help Graphics, has rattled the sleeping artist to wake and defend their institution. As many people know by now, the cultural landmark was closed temporarily on June 7 due to funding issues. The Board fell short of announcing the reasons for the closure quickly enough, so rumors flew and the pickets organized.

Although some artists have voiced their opinion that the artistic heart beats no more in ELA, listen and you will hear the ARTISTIC HEART of ELA BEATING LOUDLY as the artistic community has woken and realized that they must together with the Board and Staff support and grow this institution.

Cultural institutions have been in trouble since funding was reduced by the government in the last 5 years and corporations have reduced the amount of money given to non profit organizations after 911, due to the amount of available money from a dwindling stock market.

Yes, the Board closed the doors, but the reasons given at the June 28th meeting were that there were no funds for payroll, and that there were safety issues regarding the building. Many people go through the doors at Self Help, it would be devastating if there was a fire on a summer night where 250+ people packed the hall to listen to music, hear poetry or see a film. The Board moved to make sure this would not happen.

Some artists have been CONTENT to exhibit their work at Self Help, but what is needed from the artists is much more than that. Artists need to begin to participate in the governing of the organization, to help with the building upkeep, to provide art classes to community children and to nurture their institution.

Content, they have left the Board and Staff to run the organization and now understand how important their participation is.

The word "they" is used in a recent article by Mark Vallen in LatinoLA.com at http://www.latinola.com/story.php?story=2685. Speaking about the Board, he cites:"It is their problem, it is up to them to keep the organization going, it is me who is deprived of a venue."

"They" I suppose is the Board of Self Help.

[Editor's note: Please see Mark Vallen's rebuttal to this assertion at http://www.latinola.com/story.php?story=2716]

From what I heard at the June 28 meeting, they have been meeting on a monthly basis and sometimes more often to meet the vision. We all heard that there are plans for a Print Collectors Group, discussion on the possibility of making the store a "for profit" venue to put back money into the non-profit organization and discussions on how to become a self sufficient organization and give the artists the exposure they need and deserve.

The mission of any board of directors is to protect, promote, nurture, and expand the body it presides over.

THIS IS ALSO THE ROLE OF THE ARTISITIC COMMUNITY !!

No matter what difficulties the organization faces, a strong artist community along with the help of the Board of Directors will do everything within its power to preserve what has been entrusted to all of them.

WORK TOGETHER, THE TIME FOR BLAME IS OVER, ACCUSATIONS AND DOWNGRADING ARE BEST LEFT IN THE PAST, WORK ON SOLUTIONS..............KEEP SELF HELP GRAPHICS OPEN!!





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