Arts & Life, Special Projects, Student Choice Awards Winner

Long Beach Museum of Art emphasizes unity and community impact

The Long Beach Museum of Art, located at 2300 E. Ocean Blvd. includes over 3,200 American and European works of art in all media.

Its exhibitions of American decorative arts, early 20th Century European art, California Modernism and contemporary art are what makes this museum so captivating.

11/05/23- Tlaloc Studios exhibition at The Long Beach Musuem Of Art. "Tlaloc" is derived from the Aztec god of rain, which is considered a symbol of fertility.
11/05/23- Tlaloc Studios exhibition at The Long Beach Museum of Art. “Tlaloc” is derived from the Aztec god of rain, which is considered a symbol of fertility. Photo credit: Karla Valdez

The collections are displayed in continuously rotating exhibitions in the museum’s main space and currently the exhibition “Ordinary People,” is showcased from Oct. 6, 2023, to Jan. 14, 2024. It pays tribute to racial segregation and how these individuals developed a critical perspective in their self-perception.

“Ordinary people came from the idea of focusing on community-first-led organizations around Southern California,” said Paul Loya, Deputy Director of Exhibition and Collections. “I was reading Angela Davis’ book ‘Freedom is a Constant Struggle’ and in there she speaks about a systemic issue of individualism within our society.”

The museum has invited a wide range of community-first groups based in Los Angeles, each of which showcased their art practices outside of traditional studio settings.

Isabelle Madrid, a California State University Fullerton student visiting the museum, admired the Crenshaw Dairy Mart piece.

“My absolute favorite was the paper shredder piece, I really loved the idea of hanging the paper shredder and having the stack of California laws and regulations on the floor next to it,” Madrid said.

Her biggest takeaway from the gallery was to treat people as people and she said that everyone is human.

11/05/23- Crenshaw Dairy Mart exhibition at The Long Beach Museum of Art. They are an abolitionist, pro-black, pro-brown, pro-trans, pro-Asian, pro-queer and anti-racist organization that does not tolerate hate of any kind.
11/05/23- Crenshaw Dairy Mart exhibition at The Long Beach Museum of Art. They are an abolitionist, pro-black, pro-brown, pro-trans, pro-Asian, pro-queer and anti-racist organization that does not tolerate hate of any kind. Photo credit: Karla Valdez

The museum chose small groups of artists, educators and critical thinkers to form and run each of these organizations, exemplifying the advancement and positive change by community activation.

Elizabeth Millbank Anderson, an American Philanthropist, built this expansive California bungalow which is now home to The Long Beach Museum.

Both the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach Harbor are seen from the second floor of the museum. The house consists of the historic Anderson residence and carriage house, which were built in 1912 and are currently utilized as administrative offices, the Museum store and a café.

The museum’s beachfront gardens along with the expansive gallery space are open for hosting for special events and for dine-in at Claire’s at the Museum restaurant.

In addition to its changing exhibits, the Museum hosts a variety of adult and kid-focused educational programs, musicals, weddings and festivals.

Ronald Nelson, the museum’s executive director, said that the museum is a place to learn and also a place for social justice.

“All of these people are ordinary people, they had something in their lives switch and from that point on they became superheroes,” Nelson said.

Each exhibition highlights the importance of each person’s individuality and story, it is their identity being showcased through their work. The museum likes to give rising artists a chance to showcase what makes them unique.

The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Monday through Wednesday. Museum members get in free, general admission is $12, seniors and students are $10 and children under 12 get in free.

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