The Underground Museum
Opened in 2012 by Los Angeles painter Noah Davis in collaboration with MOCA (who allowed Davis access to curate exhibits drawing from their permanent collections), the Underground Museum exists behind once-abandoned storefronts on Washington Boulevard in Arlington Heights. With the purpose of bringing art to a predominantly African American and Latino neighborhood, the Underground Museum has housed some of the city’s most unique works, including a “Double Conscience” exhibit that drew on the workings of W.E.B. Dubois and the music of Compton-born Kendrick Lamar.
Davis’ vision and dream were cut short, as he passed away in summer 2015 from a rare form of cancer at just 32 years old. In memory of his passing, the museum is now being overseen by Davis’ brother Kahlil Joseph (who has directed a Lamar music video) and the museum’s new director, Megan Steinman, with help from MOCA’s chief curator, Helen Molesworth. To honor the late Davis, Joseph, Steinman, and Molesworth have produced an exhibit titled “Non Fiction,” a gathering of works selected by Davis prior to his death that examine themes of violence against African Americans, on display through March 2017. / theunderground-museum.org
Being brought to life by Downtown Los Angeles real estate pioneer Tom Gilmore, the Main Museum will be housed in the Old Bank District, designed by Tom Wiscombe Architecture. Though not slated to open until 2018 (ground broke earlier this year and the final phase will be complete in 2020), the Main Museum is launching Beta Main at the end of 2016 as a test site for the museum, giving curator Allison Agsten (formerly of The Hammer) the opportunity to work publicly, exploring many of the ideas that are in development for the largest project. Beta Main will consist of 4,000 square feet of exhibit space within the Hellman building (built in 1902 by Alfred Rosenheim) and will serve as a sampling of what will ultimately be a 100,000-square-foot home for the arts, a rooftop garden, amphitheatre, and café. / gilmoreredev.com
Art + Practice Foundation
Similar to the Underground Museum, Art + Practice (A+P) was envisioned to bring the arts to an area woefully lacking such benefits. Housed within historic Leimert Park in South Central LA, A+P was founded by Mark Bradford, philanthropist and collector Eileen Harris Norton, and social activist Allan DiCastro. Opened with the goal of encouraging education and culture by providing life-skills training for foster youth in the 90008 ZIP code (in addition to free, museum-curated art exhibitions and moderated art lectures to the entire community of Leimert Park), A+P stresses the cultural importance of art within a larger social context. This art and social service program is housed within a nearly 20,000-square-foot campus where it directs its programs and activities through partnerships with The Hammer Museum and The RightWay Foundation. / artandpractice.org