LA Commons Staff
Uplifting the Cultural Treasures of South LA
Featuring the California African American Museum, Adé Neff, and Ben Caldwell.
Vison Theater, Leimert Park
Cultural Treasures of South LA is an asset mapping and activation initiative under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and Promise Zone Arts (PZA). The South LA iteration of this initiative is being conducted in partnership with the LA Commons, SLATE-Z and Community Coalition, and the University of Southern California. This project gives South LA residents a participatory platform to spotlight local Cultural Treasures — the artists, sites, cultural practices and tradition bearers that they deem significant, illuminating the rich cultural tapestry that makes their communities thrive.
See some of our nominated Cultural Treasures below.
California African American Museum, Exposition Park
The timing of designating these Cultural Treasures is essential. The anticipated increase in visitors over the next decade, and in particular during the 2028 Olympics, presents an opportunity to develop community-based solutions and advance economic and social change in South Los Angeles through the lens of local residents.
During the survey data analysis, a few of the cultural sites identified were the Vision Theater in Leimert Park and the California African American Museum in Exposition Park.
Adé Neff, Owner of Ride On! Bike Shop
Passionate about bicycles, Urban Planner Adé Neff believes that they offer a simple solution to many of our communities’ complex problems. They are great for your personal health and for the health of our environment. They also can help you save money on transportation, and provide you with endless miles of fun with your family and friends. When he is not minding the shop, find Adé DJing his Oasis dance parties around LA.
Photo by Da'Shaunae Marisa
Ben Caldwell, Owner of KAOS Network
Considered one of the region’s cultural leaders, Ben Caldwell is an artist, director, educator, independent filmmaker and mentor, offering professional advice and support through his KAOS Network media lab and open mic hip-hop workshops. KAOS Network remains the only organization of its kind in South Central Los Angeles that offers courses in video production, animation, web development, and even video teleconferencing and the Internet. Always an inspiration, Caldwell created the now highly regarded Leimert Art Walk and has been connecting youth to art through technology for decades. Having survived past economic recessions and neighborhood gentrification, Caldwell continues to provide support for his community in the present moment and advocating for the arts in the future.
Photo by Roz Kumari
Nominate your Cultural Treasure in our 5-min survey. The deadline is Friday, September 30, 2022.