Will Self Help Graphics leave East L.A. behind?

Three decades of arts classes, exhibits and performances have made  Self Help Graphics & Art one of East Los Angeles’ most important cultural centers. But, with the mosaic-covered building up for sale, a reinvigorated Self Help Graphics is deciding whether to stay or leave its longtime home at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Gage avenues, perhaps moving into the City of Los Angeles and neighboring Boyle Heights.  The arts group is still studying its options and has  not made any decision, but the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency has been talking to Self Help Graphics about leasing a former seafood plant in Boyle Heights.

“We are in negotiations with them to help them identify a new home,” said Donna DeBruhl-Hemer, a project manager for the CRA’s Eastside region. “We are one of several places they are looking at. It’s far from a done deal.”

Self Help Graphics, for its part, issued a statement in response to a request for comment:

“Since the Catholic Archdiocese’s sale of the Self Help Graphics building in 2008, the Self Help board and staff have been evaluating a number of location options.  These options include continuing the lease and/or purchase of the current site as well as a move to a new location.  As good stewards, we must evaluate every option.  We will continue to operate for the foreseeable future at Cesar Chavez and Gage.”

The company that purchased the 1927 building from the archidiocese put the building back on the market earlier this year and is now asking $1.5 million for the structure and adjacent parking lot.  On Friday, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the area’s largest historic preservation group, will appear before a county  commission as it seeks to win state landmark protection for the building.

Bruhl-Hemer said the CRA staff has discussed leasing a former sea urchin processing plant at First and Utah streets to Self Help Graphics. The agency purchased the building, across the street from the new Mendez Learning Center and a Gold Line rail stop, last year as it contemplates future development in the area, which is located a few blocks west of Mariachi Plaza.  “We are looking at First Street as a fledgling arts district … this would be the western tip,” she said.

She emphasized  that discussions have remained in the early stages, and that it might take a year before Self Help Graphics makes a decision.

Related Post:
Preservationists seek protection for East L.A. arts landmark.
The Eastsider


  1. Before Selp Help Graphics move to Boyle heights, and recibe a low or free rent from the City (CRA) The organication need to open their books, have a real and good Board of Directors who have the “experiencia” to bring Funds to run a profesional organization, Its time that Selp Help Graphics to develop a 5 or 10 years plan and open their door to all. I have the oportunity to visit them and the way business was conducted made me sick. Just in case they are Back to the City, CRA, Council 14 Distric need to now that this time we welcome a real organization who will serve to all. and present a year report to the Community of Boyle Heights.

  2. CF14 resident; not to be snarky, but why would they/we/anyone take advice from someone who can’t write a coherent paragraph – especially expressing the idea that someone ELSE is incompetent?

    I’m interested in your point of veiw, but can you rephrase it in a way that is easier to understand? What is the issue?

  3. Yeah, for that matter, let’s go back to the days when you had to own land and pass a literacy test in order to even vote.

    (That was sarcasm, by the way!)

    Just my point of “veiw” (sic) – Mr./Ms. “Ummm” responding to the “CF14” (sic) resident

  4. I’m sorry that my (tiny) typo offended you DJ. I don’t think it prevented you from understanding what I was saying however, which was unfortunately the issue with the aforementioned post.

    I am by no means a spelling/grammar Nazi (unlike you apparently), but I DO find it ironic that someone is disparaging a non-profit, which has provided a service to the community for over 30 years, without even articulating their point. I’m not trying to be mean, I actually thought it was funny.

    That said, I was interested in the person’s perspective and requested that they clarify it. It seems like they have a lot of opinions about how the organization should be run, and why, and if they want to be taken seriously they need to take the time to make it coherent. That’s all.

    Is that okay with you, or are we going to continue with more ridiculous hyperbole?

  5. I believe some people have more writing skills That I do, I was not born here in USA. I went to my ESL classes just to became a US citizen, My writing and my speking are good to know and understand when a non-profit Organization is doing a good work, My criticism it that a good plan and a good direction to any organization is vital. I help to bring funds to diferents organizations in the eastside. I attend some of the meetings or events and speak with the directors or advisers, I do believe that Self Help Graphics needs to have people who are open to go outside the box for funding, City, County, state and Federal funding its limited and many organizations in the area are competing. Most of the local art galerias in the eastside its the same, Chicano art, or Iligal or legal migrants, Chicano costumbres or papa mama old pictures. Lets bring others Cultures to bring people who will buy the work.

  6. CD14 – Thank you for clarifying. Your points totally make sense, and I meant no disrespect.

  7. I will never understand people who make it a crime for misspelling words. take in the content not just the written words. PLEASE REMEMBER MOST OF US WENT TO L.A.U.S.D SCHOOLS, in not good areas of Los Angeles. where teachers had 40 kids to a class, or where so old they drooled. We didn’t get to go to U.S.C or UCLA. THANKS….

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