Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Nationally Recognized Arts Non-Profit Poised to Create a Stronger Future

Los Angeles, February 3, 2009 – Self Help Graphics & Art said today that it will stay in its original iconic location for at least one more year and received additional support. The Self Help board negotiated a favorable lease agreement with the building’s new owner, Piedmont Investment Company. It also announced that Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina’s $250,000 challenge grant to the organization was matched by an initial $75,000 grant from the California Community.

The historic mosaic-tiled building, located in the heart of East Los Angeles, was sold by the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese once the deed was transferred from the Sisters of St. Francis, Mount Alverno . For the past 35 years, Self Help Graphics was able to stay in the space free of charge so long as it followed the mission set forth by its founder, the late Sister Karen Boccalero. Since the sale of the building in July 2008, Self Help Graphics reviewed a variety of options for its operations, including moving to a new location.

“Staying in our long-time location enables us to continue uninterrupted service to the community,” said Stephen Saiz , president of Self Help Graphics & Arts board of directors. “We can also turn our attention to solidifying a stronger future for the organization including implementing a more diversified fund development plan, hiring an executive director and arranging for the proper care of our archives.”

The agreement stipulates that the organization will now be paying rent. The new owner is working with Self Help Graphics to fulfill a wish list of long-needed upgrades and renovations to the building.

Self Help Graphic’s physical space will be consolidated in line with plans for some commercial endeavors within the facility. Gallery space and some of the printing operations will be moved to the second floor.

The organization’s stature as both a national and local treasure has never been more apparent than in the last six months. Since the announcement of the sale, Self Help Graphics has been inundated with an outpouring of support from community members, elected officials such as Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, foundations, universities and national arts institutions.

That support includes a challenge grant of $250,000 from Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina. The California Community Foundation has generously stepped up and granted Self Help Graphics an initial $75,000 of the challenge grant. Despite the country’s current economic climate, Self Help Graphics is boldly seeking to raise $1 million dollars in 2009.

“The infusion of resources from the California Community Foundation and Supervisor Molina comes at a pivotal yet exciting time for Self Help,” Saiz said. “Their support will assist us with implementing our executive director search and the archive initiative while we aggressively cultivate relationships with new donors, foster new community partnerships and continue to implement our robust programming,” Saiz said.

“Given the strength of the organization’s current board of directors, its tenacity and community support, I have no doubt they will be successful,” said Antonia Hernández, president and chief executive officer of the California Community Foundation. “Self Help Graphics is one of our most vital centers of community-based art making.”

With record-breaking print fairs, innovative community partnerships, cultural festivals such as its Día de los Muertos celebration that draws thousands of attendees and artists flocking to cultivate their art, Self Help Graphics has been undergoing a renaissance over the last four years. Last summer, Self Help Graphics participated in the City of Los Angeles’ Summer Night Lights gang reduction program which has been hailed as contributing to a decline in youth crime in comparison to prior years. Self Help also partnered with local non-profit FarmLab on its widely acclaimed CHORA print project.

Self Help Graphics & Art is a nationally recognized center for Chicano and Latino arts that develops and nurtures artists and printmaking. Self Help Graphics & Art seeks to advance Chicano and Latino art broadly through programming, exhibitions and outreach to diverse audiences in East Los Angeles and beyond. Self Help Graphics & Art seeks to identify young and emerging artists from the community in all aspects of its activities.

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