Spotlight on Long Beach Arts,INC.

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Spotlight on recently spoke with Al Varel, president of Long Beach Arts,INC., via email. They talked about the inspirations and challenges of running a nonprofit organization in Long Beach.

How long has Long Beach Arts,INC. been around? Did it start in Long Beach?

LBA was founded in 1924, drawing many now historic figures into it’s fold since then. We were originally housed in the old Wayside Colony building which was torn down in 1960 to put in a new hotel. LBA originated the popularization of the DAY OF THE DEAD art exhibits in Long Beach starting in the late 1990’s.

Describe Long Beach Arts,INC.. Tell us a little about your nonprofit, your mission, the people you serve or your goals.

Our mission from the start has been to allow the public to view, appreciate and understand the arts in their daily lives. We are an all volunteer group and showcase 6 open exhibits and 2 member shows every year. Entry to view the shows is always free to the public.

How is Long Beach Arts,INC. different from similar nonprofits?

We have all new shows/exhibits with top jurors aiding in the vibrancy of our exhibits, which are mounted in a professional manner. Our membership is nationwide. We offer classes taught by well qualified instructors.

How is Long Beach Arts,INC. involved with the community?

We have striven to present exhibits which the local community will find interesting and challenging. Our class offerings are also kept as low cost as possible to encourage the residents to explore their own creativity.

What are some of the biggest successes Long Beach Arts,INC. has had?

Aside from our longevity, we have produced successful shows highlighting the Cambodian community and their arts, we held the first Digital Art exhibit and currently are working on our first exhibit with an emphasis on Graffiti art.

What is the most rewarding part of running Long Beach Arts,INC.?

Introducing groundbreaking exhibits to the local community and having the artists on a returning basis due to the quality of our programming.

What are the challenges you face — as a nonprofit, as an advocacy group, or in your industry?

Publicity for all arts groups has taken a big hit with the withdrawal of the Print Press from covering the fine arts. Where the cost of production has gone up, affordable press coverage has shrunk. LBA faces the same challenges which Bigger institutions do, including financially.

What are the future plans for Long Beach Arts,INC.?

We hope to garner some small grants from the local Arts Council of Long Beach, which will help produce not only our current program, but into next years’ as well. We hope to continue to hold and expand our art classes, exploring new topics or activities.

Do you have any special events or fundraisers you’d like to tell us about?

Our upcoming LINES, MARKS, and GRAFFITI exhibit is one of the most exciting shows we’ve had, jurored by Mr. Gregorio Luke, formerly Director of MOLAA.

How can people get involved with Long Beach Arts,INC.? What do you need — volunteers, donations, etc?

Volunteers are always welcomed to perform a variety of tasks.

What is the most inspiring advice that you received and who did it come from?

” You get the job done” from former president TICK WEBER.

One Last Thing:

WE are one the oldest continuously operating arts organizations west of the Mississippi river.

Long Beach Arts,INC. Details:

Address: 5372 Long Beach Blvd.

Phone Number: 562-423-9689


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