The Los Angeles County Art Museum is expanding its investment in arts education, funding the renovation of the Art Gallery at Charles White Elementary School that will create a landmark venue with exhibits that both students and the community can enjoy.
Work is scheduled to begin next month on the Art Gallery upgrade, with completion expected by year’s end. Under the 10-year agreement approved last fall by the Board of Education, Charles White students will have use of the gallery during school hours, and LACMA will use the space after school and on weekends for programs benefitting the students and community.
“Our schools and communities are so much more powerful when we support one another,” said Rory Pullens, the District’s executive director of Arts Education. “What LACMA is providing for Charles White Elementary will have a powerful and positive impact on us all.”
LACMA has partnered with Charles White Elementary School since 2007, providing collections and coordinating lectures and presentations for students. The renovated Art Gallery will provide additional opportunities for LACMA to curate art exhibitions, present workshops and create works with contemporary artists.
“LACMA is committed to supporting L.A. Unified’s efforts to bring the arts to its students. Our partnership with the District and Charles White Elementary School is an integral part of that goal,” said Michael Govan, the museum’s CEO and Wallis Annenberg director.
“By creating exhibitions that draw from our collection and commissioning exciting, engaging works by contemporary artists at the gallery at Charles White Elementary School, we are encouraging students to talk about and create works of art, and sharing the transformational power of art with the local community.”
The renovation is estimated to cost more than $600,000, but the total could reach $800,000. officials said. LACMA is funding the entire project; no District funds will be spent.
According to Govan, the renovations will be funded by the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission, Productivity Investment Fund, and will make the space more inviting for visitors and more environmentally stable for the works of art on display.
“We are very excited, fortunate and grateful to be in partnership with LACMA,” said Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter. “Their generous donations will include upgrades to the gallery’s interior, HVAC system and security features.”
Charles White Elementary School opened in 2004 on the former campus of Otis College of Art and Design, just down the street from MacArthur Park. About 70 percent of its 335 students are English-learners and nearly 90 percent qualify for subsidized lunches.
“Art shouldn’t be a privilege,” Principal Irene Worrell said. “It’s the opening of opportunities to helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.”