Preservationists seek protection for East L.A. cultural landmark

The Los Angeles Conservancy is seeking to have the home of Self Help Graphics & Art – a center for Latino arts and culture – declared a historic landmark after  its longtime home in East Los Angeles was put up for sale.  Self Help moved into the two story building decorated with pieces  of tile and mirrors in 1979 after it was founded by Sister Karen Boccalero in partnership with neighborhood artists and activists. But, two years ago, the Catholic Archdiocese sold the property – which also served as a popular music venue  when it was a Catholic Youth Organization outpost – to Piedmont Investments. Earlier this year, Piedmont Investments put the 1927 property up for sale and is now asking $1.5 million for the building and adjacent parking lots, triggering concern about its fate since Los Angeles County, where the building is located, lacks protection for historic landmarks. The conservancy, on its website, says:

Despite its undeniable significance as both a cultural hub and a unique fusion of art and architecture, the building is not designated as a historic landmark. It is particularly vulnerable because unincorporated Los Angeles County has no local designation program or preservation protections in place.

Officials with the conservancy, Los Angeles largest historic preservation groups, are scheduled to appear Friday before the county Historical Landmarks & Records Commission as part of their effort to designate the building  landmark.  The conservancy is encouraging residents to appear before the commission to show their support, said outreach coordinator Karina Muñiz.

Self Help, meanwhile, is on a month-to-month lease in the building, where it serves as the largest tenant. Meanwhile, on the ground floor, the owners of Silver Lake’s Coffee Table are planning to open a cafe.

Photo from LoopNet

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