LFLA presents Something In Common exhibit at the Los Angeles Public Library

The Library Foundation of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) today announce a major new series of exhibitions and programs called Something in Common, highlighting the ways we form community. The exhibition will run from May 7 to November 6, 2022.

Exploring Unique Connections, Something in Common, is an examination and celebration of the ideas, interests and beliefs that bring us together and what we can collectively create or accomplish. Through the stories of fascinating and sometimes surprising social clubs and unique organizations, this exhibit will highlight the importance of finding common ground and points of connection. It will recognize the role of the public library as an essential gathering place, not only serving communities, but also creating community.

The major exhibition will be presented at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles along with a series of citywide programs at various LAPL branches and a culmination of the Wellcome Trust’s leading international cultural program on mental health, called Mindscapes. Combining diverse perspectives and expertise, the Mindscapes program brings together culture, communities, policy and research to reflect on how we understand, approach and talk about mental health.

“Over the past two years, we’ve been forced to reconsider our relationship to public space, forced to physically isolate ourselves and wonder how and when we can get back together,” said Todd Lerew, director of special projects at the Library Foundation. “The Library has always served as a place to belong and share ideas, and we hope the stories of the groups featured in this exhibit will inspire visitors to reflect on their own affiliations, where they find a sense of community, and the ways we can connect with others in a city as vast as Los Angeles.”

Highlights of this large-scale exhibition will include:

  • Christine Wong Yap and Mindscapes: We commission a new work from visual artist Christine Wong Yap that will celebrate the Los Angeles Public Library as a place to belong by highlighting library-based clubs and groups such as the Persian Poetry Forum, Teen Councils and Health Matters Book Club. Christine Wong Yap is a social practitioner whose work often explores dimensions of psychological well-being such as belonging, resilience, connectedness and collaboration. This commission is organized in collaboration with Wellcome Trust and Christine Wong Yap as artist in residence At Large. He is part of Mindscapes, Wellcome’s international mental health cultural programme.
  • The Los Angeles Black Underwater Explorers: a scuba diving club dedicated to expanding access, knowledge, and enjoyment among African Americans in a sport that some had previously felt they did not belong to.
  • The Feminist Center for Creative Work: a membership-based organization that supports and promotes feminist artists and intersectional creatives, creating a community and network of engagement and opportunities to share work and ideas.
  • The Baseball Reliquary: a non-profit organization “dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history and exploring the unparalleled creative possibilities of the national pastime.”
  • The Cloud Appreciation Society: a group that brings together lovers of the sky, with members in 120 countries around the world, all united in the belief that clouds are the most dynamic, evocative and poetic aspect of nature.
  • The Los Angeles Breakfast Club: a historic club that met on the edge of Griffith Park every Wednesday morning for the better part of a century, devoted to friendship and hospitality, and offering rituals, lectures , performances and songs to accompany their ham and eggs.
  • South El Monte Arts Posse: a collective of artists, writers, urban planners, educators, scholars, environmentalists, meet-and-greet vendors, and youth dedicated to engaging with the community of El Monte and South El Monte through public history and arts-based projects.
  • LA Community Cookbook Archive: A project by artist Suzanne Joskow, inviting interaction with a collection of hundreds of community cookbooks representing social organizations in Los Angeles County over the past 100 years.
  • Roller Pigeon Clubs: organized groups, mainly of colored men, dedicated to the unique acrobatic Birmingham Roller Pigeon, known for doing backflips in flight. Members of roller clubs breed and breed these birds for competition, with many crediting the hobby with keeping them off the streets.
  • 29 Annual Palms Historical Society’s Weed Show: In an area often decried by outsiders as barren or empty, this community event brings together people from a wide variety of backgrounds and age groups for friendly competition based on displays of local flora from the high desert, AKA “weeds”.
  • Microscopical Society of Southern California: Dedicated to the science, art and history of microscopy, the MSSC provides an opportunity for professionals and amateurs to share their enthusiasm for the microscope and the worlds it can reveal .

The Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ special projects play a unique role in advancing the mission of attracting support and enthusiasm for the Los Angeles Public Library. Projects have explored topics ranging from the history of LA restaurants and current food insecurity to how we seek to leave our own mark on the city. In 2018-2019, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles produced 21 collections at the Central Library’s Getty Gallery, visited by more than 44,000 people. Exhibition curator and director of special projects Todd Lerew has visited more than 600 museums, libraries and private collections as part of the search for 21 collections, and takes an equally wide-ranging approach to preparations for Something. in Common, having joined or visited more than 100 unique clubs and organizations across Los Angeles.

For more information, visit lfla.org.

About Elaine Morales

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