LA Commons' mission is to engage communities in artistic and cultural expression that tells their unique stories and serves as a basis for dialogue, interaction and a better understanding of Los Angeles. Our programs are grounded in the philosophy that culture is a valuable community resource, art is a powerful tool for telling stories and creating change, and artists have an important role to play in the community development process.
Inspired by ancestor veneration traditions like Yoruba Egungun Masquerades and unmet community needs in South LA, Leimert Park's Day of Ancestors: Festival of Masks (FOM) was envisioned by master percussionists Najite Agindotan and Rene Fisher-Mims, in partnership with legendary filmmaker Ben Caldwell. The festival features a procession, libation ceremony dance and musical performances. Taking to the streets during the procession symbolizes taking back our streets while the libation and blessing ceremony heal the community. Elders Najite, Mama Nene, and Ben Caldwell partnered with LA Commons to produce the first festival in 2011.
LA Commons has paid internship opportunities for youth artists, ages 15 - 25. Our youth artists work through out May and July to prepare for the festival by participating in a cultural education program and art workshops.
Historically, youth and other participants have opportunities to learn about West African drumming, social dances, and mask making traditions. Over the year's our cultural education program has expanded to include artistic traditions from the African Diaspora, including Cuba, Haiti, Curacao, and Brazil.
Mold, Plaster, & Paint!
LA Commons Staff & Contractors