Families in the Arlington Heights area of L.A. have a hidden gem in their neighborhood. The Underground Museum, an unassuming storefront art gallery, serves as a community center, farmers market, yoga and meditation studio and outdoor movie theater.
Founded by the late painter and installation artist Noah Davis and his wife, Karon Davis, The Underground Museum opened its doors at 3508 W. Washington Blvd. in 2012 as an exhibition space that provided free arts shows. Davis wanted to bring museum-quality art to a traditionally African American and Latino working-class neighborhood. Three years after the grand opening, he died at the age of 32. In his honor, a dedicated group of artists and activists have kept his curated exhibits and the location alive and thriving by growing its family programming to include much more than art classes.
The current exhibit, “Water & Power,” curated by Noah Davis, can be viewed until September; however, it’s the overflowing open-air garden space right outside the gallery that entices visitors to stay for a while. “We are here to provide access to our community – from art to community wellness to conversations. We are super invested in this community,” says Manager Justen Le Roy.
“There are no signs on the doors and no marketing efforts with lights and big signs,” Le Roy says, referring to the building, which is painted black. “We are very aware and careful how we show up because we specifically want the people of this neighborhood to experience our programs, which include a monthly supermarket shopping on Sundays, Purple Garden Cinema (from June – October) and we hold court with conversations with local activists discussing new ideas. We also provide sunset yoga and meditation classes, which are free and open to the public and for all ages and levels.”
To participate in any of the community programs, simply show up and engage. A monthly schedule of events and activities is housed on the website at theunderground-museum.org.