The City of Los Angeles is not a city that has traditionally been known as a cultural hub for the arts, and by the arts I’m not referring to the 7th art, better known as film. Or even your typical pop culture type of music, I’m referring to the arts as in art and sculpture, as well as Opera and live theater. Well, slowly but surely, the city is turning around and boasts a slew of offerings that range from major museums such as LACMA, MOCA, Getty Villa, The Getty Center off the 405 Fwy, the Latin American Museum of Art (Long Beach) and of course Walt Disney Concert Hall and other major theaters such as The Dorothy Chandler and The Pantages.
But when it comes to smaller venues and galleries, while there are hundreds in the posh areas of the city, there are also hidden gems in historic areas such as East LA and San Fernando.
So, one of these hidden gems and best kept secrets in Los Angeles has got to be hands down Chimaya Boutique and Gallery! It’s a unique art hub for up-and-coming and established Latino artists in the city. With resident artists as big as George Yepes (remember Los Lobos’ classic album cover of La Pistola y El Corazon?), Hector Silva, Juan Solís, Yolanda Gonzalez and Dolores Haro, to name a few.
On June 26th, Chimaya opened its exhibit “Out-and-Out: Living and loving…an exhibition of affirmative identity” at its new gallery next door to its original location 5283 E. Beverly Blvd (2 blocks East of Atlantic Blvd.). This exhibit is in line with June’s celebrations all over the world of Gay Pride. But beyond gay pride, Out-and-Out is really more about respecting and celebrating identity and diversity, which is one of the reasons I continue supporting Chimaya. They’re in tune with the community’s pulse, needs and wants. They’re giving an essential voice and space to Latino artists, that otherwise would go unnoticed in other parts of the city; artists that rival and challenge the status quo and juxtapose the Latin American culture and experience in the context of its American existence.
I applaud Chimaya for doing this and for being a beacon of hope for Latino artists in the City of Angels, and a haven of culture, style and class in the heart of East Los Angeles.
If you haven’t been, you’re missing out. Chimaya is cool, relevant and sophisticated in a neighborhood that slowly but surely has been polishing up, and Chimaya’s presence, I’m sure, has a lot to do with that new face lift!