Esperanza's Cultural Continuum

Esperanza Community Housing Corporation

Funding Received: 2012
Los Angeles, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 30, 2012

Mercado La Paloma, an economic development project of Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, is a vibrant, dynamic, non-profit community marketplace in South Central Los Angeles that provides space for emerging entrepreneurs specializing in culinary, homemade, handmade and cultural items.

We are establishing Mercado La Paloma as the go-to place to explore and experience the indigenous cultures of the diverse residents of South Los Angeles and their present day manifestations within and outside their countries of origin. We will celebrate a different cultural group every other month, through fixed media exhibits, film screenings, music performances, dance, workshops, cooking classes, tastings and lectures that will make known the deep and rich traditions that form the tapestry of our community.

ArtPlace spoke with Damon Turner, Art & Cultural Programming Coordinator about their ArtPlace project.

ARTPLACE: Who outside your organization has been key to your ability to move your initiative forward?

DAMON: The 'Cultural Continuum' project is collaborating with several partners to
move our ArtPlace initiative forward. As we began planning our project we identified several cultural leaders to support the implementation of Cultural Continuum. Today I will focus on two key supporters: Xamanism, curated by Arturo Chabolla and Grand Performances.

Xamanism is a local art & cultural development firm, spearheaded by artist Arturo Chabolla and his wife Miriam Chabolla, that co-produces one of the largest Dia De Los Muertos events in California and other events all over the country. Through their know how, which seamlessly aligns with the culture and consistency of events we wanted to develop at Mercado La Paloma, we have cultivated and continue to develop our partnership. We first began partnering with Xamanism in 2011 around the development of our Day of the Dead programming and as a result launched a successful large multi-cultural event.

Grand Performances, a local art organization providing free performing arts in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, is helping move our initiative forward with the knowledge and expertise in creating successfully sponsored, culturally diverse and connected events. They have been a great support in our planning phase to prepare for the talent we want to perform in the Cultural Continuum. Grand Performances is one of the only, if not the only, space in Los Angeles bringing Angelenos free quality performances featuring world renowned performance artists consistently every summer. So, this level of understanding and wisdom in curating spaces and booking big names is what Grand Performances has brought to the Cultural Continuum experience.

ArtPlace: Are there secrets to good partnerships?

DAMON: Absolutely! There are a few key things to know when building a good

1. Find a natural synergy with someone who aligns with the essence of your project. Whether you share the same anchoring ideals or passions, something should resonate between the collaborators before moving forward or it will be a very stale and one dimensional experience.

2. Keep an open mind about the creative process and be open to changes from your initial idea. Because at the end of the day, no ONE person can do anything alone and the more creative minds you have around you, the better insight you will have moving into your project.

3. Build with people who keep the communities best interest in the forefront of the decision-making process. This I believe is above all the most important. If you are not concerned with the communities needs then any work that you do it will come across as disingenuous and will not be received in the end!