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A broad spectrum of Downtown stakeholders is represented in the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA)’s many public-facing committees. As part of its monthly series, DLBA would like to introduce Placemaking Committee member Cynthia Lujan, an active and engaged member of the Downtown arts community.

A visual artist, Lujan is the Public Art Manager at Arts Council for Long Beach, a non-profit which fosters creativity and culture in Downtown and the city at large. “I am a muralist, painter, and an inclusivity, mobility, and safety advocate,” Lujan said. “I create art that addresses the way we navigate public and social spaces with the hopes of addressing barriers created through social conditioning.”

Lujan, a Norwalk native, began growing her passion for community art while studying for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting with a minor in Russian Studies at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). During her school years, she co-founded an artist’s collective, FA4, which was made up of CSULB alumni. After graduating in 2015, she became affiliated with the Arts Council.

In the summer of 2017, Lujan established __flatline, a community art gallery in North Long Beach, where she curated exhibitions featuring local Long Beach artists as well as CSULB students and alumni. Throughout her experiences, she networked steadily, helping foster a community of artists dedicated to inclusivity and to giving community stakeholders a say in public art.

Since joining DLBA’s Placemaking Committee in January 2021 at the recommendation of Arts Council Executive Director Griselda Suarez, Lujan has begun her advocacy of public art in Downtown by helping to strategize the promotion of public art, especially amidst the current pandemic restrictions. She is keen on garnering greater visibility for the Arts Council as a leading arts organization in Downtown and in greater Long Beach, and wants to help bring more dignity to the conversations about Long Beach’s unhoused population through the arts.

Lujan painting a utility box in Long Beach.

“In general,” Lujan said, “I’d like to help create safe and accessible public spaces for all, and to see more local arts representation in Downtown. What I love most about Downtown Long Beach is the public art that is always on view. A great way to access more information about it is through the Public Art Map on our Arts Council for Long Beach website.”

During her down time, Lujan can be found adding touches to her own public art. “I’m also a continuous student of roller skating,” she said. “I am currently trying to create a more consistent habit of it. I love the roller skating community in Long Beach. It’s very empowering and celebratory, and I hope to make more acquaintances and friendships by participating in it.”

Like everyone else, Lujan is eager for the pandemic to end. ”I really miss meeting up with friends on the Promenade and going out for dinner with them. I am really looking forward to that, after we’re in the clear from COVID-19.”