West Adams Collectors Club:
Collecting, Archiving & Exhibiting Your Own Cultural History
October 3-November 21, 2015
This new exhibition is the result of a free, eight-week intergenerational workshop on grassroots archiving and collecting, hosted and organized by The William Grant Still Arts Center in collaboration with community members, professional archivists, and local historians this past spring.
Multiple generations and narratives come into play in the exhibition, which brings together a portion of the home collections of workshop participants and facilitators, to demonstrate and encourage new generations to collect and keep history.
- Billie Green’s collection of dolls made by the Shindana Toy Company showcase how a company formed in South Central Los Angeles in the post-Watts Rebellion era created dolls which reflected positive role models, cultural figures, and everyday life for children of color to enjoy
- Tené Harris’s passion and profession as baker in Los Angeles— a shared interest of her great-great-grandmother and aunt— offered her an entry point to her family’s history in Texas as she founded her business, Sweet Beginnings
- Johann Hassan’s collection of stamps featuring important African-American historical, social, and cultural figures
- Gilda Byers’ flyers and documentation of her work in LA’s reggae music scene in the 1980s and 1990s
- An audio and physical archive assembled by long-time members of the Trinity Baptist Church’s congregation
- Alden Kimbrough’s original James Baldwin materials
- C. Jerome Woods collection of periodicals featuring local icons Sir Lady Java and Jewel Thais Williams from the Black LGBT Project
- Traditional African and African-American Art representing the unified vision of collectors Mary Kimbrough and George Sneed
- Dalena Hunter’s curated selections from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA
- A full gallery dedicated to the debut of a large collection documenting the past, present, and future of the work of Community Services Unlimited, beginning with the Free Breakfast for Children Program of the Southern California chapter of the Black Panther Party through to their recent purchase of the Paul Robeson Center on South Vermont with plans to transform it into an organic produce market for the community
- A take-one, leave-one bookshelf will enable exhibition guests to add to The Miracle Bookmobile, a donation-driven project which activates the public redistribution of literature and ideas
Related Exhibit Programming and Events:
10/10 and 10/24 – Exhibit Walk-Throughs, 2pm
Learn from community contributors about their collections in their own words.
10/31 – Community Services Unlimited (CSU) Sankofa Launch, 12-3pm
An event to launch Sankofa, a multimedia, multidisciplinary archive project looking at CSU’s current work through the lens of their history; the event will feature music, speakers including NBA player-turned-farmer Will Allen, archive tours, information about their local gardening and produce programs, and more.
11/14 – Mini-Archive Fair, 1-4pm
Tables from other archive projects and resources for those interested in getting started on building their own personal archives.
This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit calhum.org.