OUR VISION • MISSION • CORE PRINCIPLES
The vision of CREATIVE I is to support and nurture the existing thriving arts community in the Skid Row neighborhood by providing a platform for its residents to be vehicles of joy and hope to their community.
The mission of CREATIVE I is to provide an accessible, safe, and multidisciplinary art and community space that empowers artists in the Skid Row Neighborhood to fulfill their artistic and personal goals. We believe it is an absolute necessity that the existing artistic community of Skid Row has regular access to more arts and cultural spaces which nurture the creative spirit and allow the community to thrive. We aim to foster the development of community-rooted arts programs grounded in a culture of non-judgment, collaborative encouragement, respect, positivity, innovation, and freedom of creativity.
CREATIVE I is inspired by the creative studio platform practiced at STUDIO 526, which is rooted in the conviction that 'equitable access to arts and cultural spaces is a fundamental human right, essential for everyone.’
Creative I is committed to:
Ensuring that the existing artistic community of Skid Row has regular access to art and art spaces that nurture the creative spirit and empower artists to fulfill their artistic and personal goals.
Providing access to high-quality art materials and studio space that artists can access at least 5 days a week from 9-5pm.
Providing an accessible, safe, calm, and therapeutic environment that fosters both individual creativity and collaborative projects.
Providing a space that is conducive to both collaborative work and access to individual privacy in the creative process
Building a community characterized by a culture of non-judgment, mindfulness, collaborative encouragement, respect, positivity, innovation, and freedom of creativity.
Providing multidisciplinary programs in art and music developed by Skid Row community members, artists, and guest collaborators.
Developing creative avenues for artists to turn passions into sources of income
Encouraging collaborative projects between artists and community allies.
Providing access to resources that foster personal and creative growth for our community members beyond and within our space.
Creating leadership opportunities for artists within and beyond our space.
Keith Jackson (in memorium): During the economic downturn in 2010, Keith lost his job. He became ill with diabetes and lost his apartment. After over a month of being homeless, he was referred to the Weingart Center Veterans program. There, he met a fellow veteran who, after seeing Keith's artwork in the day room, told him about Studio 526 (formerly Lamp Arts Program). When he arrived at the art studio he met Hyak, the coordinator, and fell in love with the space. Being in the heart of skid row he had worries of being consumed by the life of being homeless and helpless. Through the opportunities to create art at Studio 526, he felt empowered through the art that he created. He looked forward to each day that the doors were open. Now he is doing better because a place like Studio 526 was there to provide him with a safe space and quality art supplies for him to create art. Keith has been a volunteer and member of Studio 526 since 2012 and enjoys supporting and connecting with the artist community there. He believes that safe, community arts spaces are a great remedy to keep the mind and spirit healthy for creatives of all disciplines to develop and grow in any environment.
Keith had been a key driving force in this effort to launch Creative I. We are deeply saddened by the great loss of such a compassionate advocate and talented artist and member of our launch team in September, 2018. We are all the more committed to carrying out the mission and vision of Creative I in his memory.
Young Mi Chi (Lead) is a graphic designer, arts educator and activist in Los Angeles. Over the 20+ years of engaging people of all ages and backgrounds locally and globally in a wide variety of art workshops, she has witnessed many of her participants experience freedom, joy, self-confidence, sense of self-worth--all through the creative process. She has been inspired by the strength and beauty of the creative community that has been developed in Skid Row and has made it her life's mission to providing safe creative spaces for artistic expression for all people who do not have access, but especially those who are more vulnerable due to disconnection and displacement.
Garrison Alecsaunder is a multi-disciplinary artist who is very active in helping to promote the visual arts in the Skid Row community through participation in festivals, events and workshops.
Kim Burns is an LA actress from the city of Cheesesteaks and Brotherly Love. She’s been volunteering with the community of Skid Row since 2016 and it has truly touched her heart. As an artist she believes in the power of all forms of art to spark the imagination of what’s possible; that art changes people and people change the world. She feels that all people should be housed, healthy, and safe, but that alone does not always make a life. Art feeds the soul. Access to arts and cultural spaces is a human right.
After spending time at Studio 526 in Skid Row, she believes that these voices not only deserve to be heard, they need to be heard. They are beautiful, funny, strong, enduring, sometimes heartbreaking, creative, and absolutely inspiring voices that deserve a place to express freely — a place to be heard, a place to be seen.
Clancey Cornell is an artist, archivist, and community event producer from Los Angeles. She is interested in the space where art, history, memory, and community intersect. She has been involved in a variety of archival projects in Argentina, Hawaii, and Los Angeles with a special interest in archiving as activist practice to narrate histories that would otherwise go unexplored.
In 2015, she began volunteering at Studio 526 and has since gotten involved with the Los Angeles Poverty Department’s Skid Row History Museum and Archive. Through involvement in these organizations, she has been able to connect with the most inspiring and creative people that prove how through art, performance, community building, and storytelling, we can challenge the dominant narrative that surrounds Skid Row and homelessness in Los Angeles, and change lives along the way. She views community art spaces as essential to that process.
Ian Gabriel is a New Jersey native who has lived in Los Angeles since 2013. He has spent much of his time in LA involved in projects that mix social justice and the arts. As a project manager for creative consulting firm Big Bowl of Ideas, he helped bring together artists and activists at pop-up art shows around the country and worked with progressive non-profits and labor unions to use art to amplify their messages. He also managed the Historic Downtown Farmers Market, which brought affordable and healthy food plus art and music to the Downtown LA community. He was the co-founder and editor of multimedia publication Get Down Town, which featured an issue on art in the Skid Row community. Since 2017, he has been a volunteer studio assistant at Skid Row's Studio 526 and is currently pursuing a master's degree in public policy at the University of Southern California.
Ian believes strongly that no one's creative voice should be restricted or constrained because of lack of access or resources. He has seen firsthand in Skid Row, Downtown Los Angeles, and beyond that art and creativity have the power to heal, inspire, and empower.
Linda Leigh is a multi-disciplinary artist and an activist in the Skid Row community who is engaged at various levels of advocacy through various grassroots organizations.
Queen Mama Tabia is a multi-disciplinary artist and poet who fosters authentic community wherever she goes with her peaceful disposition. Watch her powerful story here.
Wendy Viscarra is a jewelry artist and a passionate arts advocate in Los Angeles who has been actively serving the Skid Row community for many years professionally and as a volunteer.