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LA County Moves Forward with Southeast LA Cultural Center in South Gate

Rendering of the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Cultural Center on County property along the Los Angeles River in South Gate.

December 19, 2023

Los Angeles, CA – This morning, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and co-authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis to create a plan for the County’s development and operations of the proposed Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Cultural Center on County property along the Los Angeles River in the City of South Gate.

“Southeast LA is bursting with art and with talent, but what it has been denied for too long are the space and investments to celebrate it,” said Hahn, who represents Southeast Los Angeles. “This community deserves the same access to arts and cultural institutions that the Westside and Downtown LA have had for decades. The Southeast LA Cultural Center has been a dream of artists here in SELA for years, and I am proud that we can take this huge step toward making this dream a reality with the full force of the County behind it and the unanimous support of our board.”

The project has already received $124 million in state funds secured by Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon and State Senator Lena Gonzalez. Los Angeles County departments will now take on the role of planning the construction of the Frank Gehry-designed project, transforming what is now a Los Angeles County Public Works yard into this world-class cultural center. 

The cultural center will be built on the Los Angeles County Public Works yard in South Gate, red dot.

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“SELA is home to so many gifted artists and creatives,” said Supervisor Solis who co-authored the motion. “For years, many in the region have had to rely on cafes and small eateries to gather and showcase their art. However, today’s action is another step towards changing that. By investing in SELA through the development of a Cultural Center, we can continue to support the cultural lives and community resilience of a region that has experienced decades of systemic inequality, and help our residents thrive. With a Cultural Center right in SELA, essentially in residents’ backyard, locals will be able to benefit from the healing that the arts provide. ”During the meeting, Southeast LA elected leaders, local artists, and community partners gave public comment in support of the project. Among the speakers was California State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon, who has been the champion of this project.

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 “Today’s vote by the Board of Supervisors is a huge step towards the creation of the SELA Cultural Center. This project will not only provide artistic resources, job opportunities, and an economic boost to Southeast LA. It will also be a world-class cultural destination for the entire county, and the world beyond. I want to thank Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis for bringing this motion forward today. In particular, I want to thank Supervisor Hahn for her leadership on this project, and for her strong commitment to bringing this important resource to the people of Southeast LA,” said Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon.

Earlier this month, Rendon and State Senator Lena Gonzalez presented Hahn with checks for a total of $8 million in state funds that will be given as grants to local artists and support the work of an advisory panel made up of local artists and residents that will guide the Center’s creation.