Curation of Out of the Shadows: Building Community Through the Arts
Photo exhibit on view April 5-May 30, 2019 at 341 FSN in Little Tokyo
Since October 2018, I have been working as an Andrew Mellon Foundation-funded UCLA/Community Archives intern at Visual Communications (VC), the nation’s premier Asian American and Pacific Islander media arts center. VC commemorates its 50th anniversary in 2020, and the year ahead is full of special events to build anticipation for the big celebration. Materials from the VC Archives are being showcased in several of these programs, so the organization, digitization, and description of the thousands of 35mm color slides and special collection 35mm black-and white negatives within the center’s collections are of the utmost importance. These activities make up the majority of my day-to-day work at VC.
I was also tasked with activating images from the archives in an exhibit that is part of Centering the Masses, a 9-week series of free pop-up events and programs, addressing the fact that the area has been and continues to be a crossroads of shifting racial, generational, and economic conditions. I titled the exhibit Out of the Shadows: Building Community Through the Arts because the archival images I have chosen celebrate VC’s use of media arts to engage with Angelenos living in and around Little Tokyo, as well as area visitors. Faces from VC’s first five decades are brought to light for the first time in decades, as they create film, music, dance, theater, culinary, and graphic art works in these pictures.
The exhibit opened on April 5, 2019, and a few days later, I presented a Curator’s Talk on the preservation and curation process, followed by a discussion with one of the photographers whose work is highlighted in the exhibit, Ed Ikuta. To follow are some images from the event taken by my internship site supervisor, Abe Ferrer.