Art + Practice was founded in 2014 as an art and social service organization in Leimert Park. Created by Mark Bradford alongside collector Eileen Harris Norton and social activist Allan DiCastro, the founders of the nonprofit spent time researching before setting their intention on how they would arrive in the historically Black neighborhood. Their free arts programs and museum-curated exhibitions—made possible by collaborating with institutions across America—are dedicated to inspiring and addressing the needs of transition-aged foster youth living in the area. Every work on site is displayed with the hope that it will activate the arts community in South L.A., which was once home to the iconic Brockman Gallery and a locus of inspiration during the height of the Black Arts Movement.
How lucky are we that L.A. art galleries aren’t bound to a specific hierarchy or discipline? A single trip could introduce us to an emerging artist practicing a new form of craft art and then put us face-to-face with a Mark Bradford painting for a rare showing before it moves into a museum. This flattening of the arts scene allows L.A. galleries to become a little more art-centric than their business-motivated counterparts in other areas of the world.
What’s more, the city’s inspiring and ambitious art lies inside buildings that are sandwiched in between, say, a laundromat and a bowling alley in Hollywood. Once upon a time they were film production offices in Culver City or community spaces that taught martial arts in Mid-City. Many of L.A.’s contemporary galleries end up using the past and present lives of their locations to identify themselves, making these spaces feel like our own among art world insiders and collectors.
The below museum-caliber galleries are free and open to the public—and most importantly, they want you there regardless of your status in the art market.