The Arroyo Arts Collective is a community based art organization of visual and performing artists and writers. Founded in 1989, our masthead motto: “Innovation, Creativity Culture in Northeast Los Angeles” reflects the Arroyo Arts Collective’s mission to connect the creative community to the community at large. We endeavor to not only cast an expansive and inclusive net for talent, but to encourage, support and nurture artists at myriad levels of development and cultural and social backgrounds, through our extensive community outreach programs.
Now in its fourth decade, the Arroyo Arts Collective has been, and will continue to be, committed to the values of equity, diversity and inclusion as reflected in our board, the artists we support, and most importantly by our continued commitment to innovative programming which reflects these values.
The Arroyo Arts Collective was established in 1989 as a community organization of artists, writers and performers who live and work in Northeast Los Angeles, including the neighborhoods of Highland Park, Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights and Eagle Rock. Historically rich in tradition, the area bordering the Arroyo Seco was Los Angeles’ first cultural center at the beginning of the 20th century and the site of the Southwest Museum, the city’s first. A large concentration of artists continues to reside in northeast Los Angeles in some of the city’s most thoroughly multicultural and richly diverse neighborhoods.
Mission and Purpose
The mission of the Arroyo Arts Collective is to advance and showcase the creative vitality and rich cultural history that exists in Northeast Los Angeles through innovative arts and culture events. Encouraging local community involvement in the arts through public workshops, activities, and exhibitions, we connect the creative community with the neighborhood at large, and make art available to everyone, including underserved audience of northeast Los Angeles.
The Arroyo Arts Collective was formed to rekindle the spirit of cultural activism within the Northeast communities of Los Angeles, and to link the creative community to the community as a whole by presenting cultural events – to create community through art. At that time, there was only one art gallery in the area. Towards this end, the AAC instituted the “Discovery Tour” in 1993 to showcase local artists. For 25 years this tour was an annual event highlighting the wealth of creative talent, each year attracting 500 – 700 visitors to 50+ homes and studios while featuring 70-120 artists of the Northeast area yearly. For almost 20 years it published and distributed 1200 copies of its newsletter per month in the community and circulated an email art events listing.
The AAC offers exhibition opportunities to artists and cultural organizers who need support to pursue creative projects that connect the artistic to the local communities, celebrate cultural history and diversity, and provide the general public audience with access to high-quality arts and culture programs. We have sponsored and collaborated with individuals as well as organizations to create live cultural events, public art installations, gallery exhibitions, and educational workshops to participants of all ages and backgrounds in North East Los Angeles. We pride ourselves on the diversity of our programming, which spans visual arts, performances including theatre, music, dances, and spoken word poetry, educational workshops, to publishing projects. The themes for our projects are drawn from hot issues/subjects within the community, such as homelessness, gentrification, conservation, etc.
Since our inception, the AAC regularly sponsors members’ shows with open calls, offering exhibition opportunities particularly valuable to emerging and outsider artists as well as to experienced professional and member curators interested in moving in new directions. As a community collaborator we are in frequent contact with other community arts and services organizations, local colleges and universities, with the neighborhood councils and the City Council offices. We have forged ongoing and successful relationships with the Audubon Center at Debs Park, the Lummis Home, the North Figueroa Association, and the Autry Museum of the West Southwest Museum Campus, bringing a welcomed extra layer of exposure to each venue.
Teatro Arroyo, functioning as a committee of the AAC since 2016, is a Highland Park-based theater collective, and works to provide culturally relevant performing arts experiences produced by and for community residents. La Culebra Action League, another AAC committee since 2017, in partnership with Avenue 50 Studio, is pursuing full stewardship of the Tierra da la Culebra Art Park in Highland Park through Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, where they were hosting activities prior to the pandemic – in the process reducing vandalism and gang-related graffiti, and re-transforming the space into a neighborhood hub of local arts and cultural activities such as monthly musical performances, outdoor movies, and community workshops.