October 18 I am curating my biggest art show yet, an outdoor, four-hour pop-up benefiting Homeboy Industries as part of their 5k run/walk, over forty artists and approximately eighty pieces of art that will be hung on a chain link fence. We start hanging at 5am, the show opens at 8am and is over at noon. Crazy, but not as a crazy as what Father Gregory Boyle, the founder Homeboy Industries, set out to do 25 years ago–to provide jobs and education as alternatives to senseless violence in the gang-heavy area of East LA. Father Boyle’s model recognizes the importance of community: He and his amazing staff have created an environment where former gangs rivals work together, learning job skills and attending educational and therapeutic classes. Over 120,000 former gang members and formerly incarcerated individuals have passed through Homeboy Industries, and their concepts have spread across the US and to Scotland and Guatemala, changing individual lives and entire cities for the good.
So, back to the art part. I have known Alexa Rousso, Homeboy’s manager of donor relations for like ever. She is married to one of my oldest friends and I was in their wedding party. I had helped Alexa with a couple small things for Homeboy (getting prom dresses, arranging for Prayers to donate download cards as inserts in prom gift bags) and then she told me about her vision for the 5k Run/Walk, which this year has the tag line Every Angeleno Counts: She wanted have the chain link fence across from the Homeboy Headquarters transformed in a wall of art for sale. I replied:
Good, because you’re in charge of it.
Oh, say whaaaaa–? But how could I say no? I’ve seen how Homeboy Industries has changed lives, and I know how art can transform lives, and..and…and…
Using my rolodex and Facebook, and race theme of Every Angeleno Counts, I scored artists ranging in age from 14 to 70+, representing wide swath of Angeleno culture. We’ve got street artists like Shepard Fairey, Robbie Conal, Cat Cult, Etch, Emerald, Galo Make Canote, Vyal, and Skyler Grey (he’s the 14 year old), students from Immaculate Heart, established artists (think Anthony Ausgang, Leigh Salgado, Marc Trujillo, Abel Alejandre, Wini Brewer, Keith Dugas, Kelly Thompson, J Michael Walker, Sophia Gasparian, Kristine Schomaker and many other), figures from the LA music world (Jean-Pierre Boccara, Alicia Velasquez) Cholo and Dark Progressivism artists (Ed Gutter, Krown 187, Tyson Pedrosa, Phowl, Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, Monique Kimberly), and many, many more emerging and established artists, plus students from Cal State University LA, Cal State San Bernardino, and Immaculate Heart High School. You can check Cartwheel Art’s Facebook feed and the Every Angeleno Counts art show event page daily for images.
But wait, there’s more! Fabian Debora, who runs Homeboy Industries’ art programs will be a creating mural and a starting line street piece with his crew, and has set up a special area for kids to paint.
Please join us October 18, from 8am til noon (yes, the early bird catches the art!) at Homeboy Industries, 130 S Bruno Ave, LA 90012. Feel like a morning jog? There are spots still open if you want to participate in the 5k run/walk, check the link here. Plus there will be vendors, food trucks (including the awesome Homeboy Industries chilaquillas truck!)
Janet Grey: She’s No Flying Nun
Robbie Conal, Fireball
Sheila Cameron, That’s No Lady
Marc Trujillo, Pop Tart
Emerald, Can I Love You
Katherine Brannock, Candid Reflection