October is National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM), but Downtown Long Beach locals are lucky enough to celebrate all year long. DTLB has no shortage of artwork and artists: between the many galleries, POW! WOW! murals, street art, ornate architecture, and picturesque landscape, there’s much beauty to be seen.
NAHM originated as National Arts Week in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, it was reestablished by Americans for the Arts and national arts partners as a month-long celebration with goals of equitable access to the arts at local, state, and national levels. The arts and humanities have played a critically important role helping communities manage through the COVID-19 pandemic and in amplifying the need for racial equity across the country.
A prime example of that can be found in one of Long Beach’s more well-known festivals, POW! WOW! The event returned this year and brought with it new murals as well as restoration of others that were damaged during the civil unrest last summer. It also included a major
new offshoot of the brand, Art Renzei, which featured sculptures on the beach.
Speaking of change, organizers of the Long Beach event announced that they will be changing the name of the program to Worldwide Walls, a move that all festivals across the US will shift to next year. The POW! WOW! name was inspired from the color-filled pages of comic books. “POW!” being the impact that art has on a person. “WOW!” being the reaction that art has on a viewer. Out of that context, the name inspired some confusion and concern over issues of appropriation and has been problematic to our Indigenous communities.
Another Long Beach art opportunity can be found at the East Village Arts District’s 2nd Saturday Art Walk. The block party-style event features painting, sculpture, performances, trades, and live music intermixed between a variety of restaurants and bars located within the footprint.
Amy Stock, owner of Kennedy Grace Gallery and an Art Walk coordinator, is excited to bring back the event. “We’ve kept the same vibe of being able to explore the businesses and art pop ups along with live music at the Arts Park. Plus, we’ve freshened up a few things including changing the event time (noon – 5 pm) and we’re closing off Elm Street in front of the Arts Park for pop up vendors.” If you would like to be a vendor, please apply at www.artlb.org.
Through the month of October, you can also check out artist studios during the free Long Beach Open Studio Tour. Below you’ll also find details of 9 DTLB art-related organizations with descriptions from each business.
Dark Art Emporium
121 W. Fourth St.
Friday-Saturday 12PM-7PM, Sunday 12PM-5PM
The Dark Art Emporium is an eclectic and ever-evolving mix of Fine Art and Oddities. From Dark Surrealism to New Contemporary Art, Human Skulls to Taxidermy, our elaborate rooms are filled with pieces that aren’t often found in most galleries and never presented together.
Hellada Art Center
117 Linden Ave.
The peoples of what is now Greece created the first enduring civilization in Europe, they called themselves Hellenes and their homeland Hellas. They created art, theatre, literature, architecture, and science. Their passionate dedication to beauty and delectable style reaches back to the 5th century BC when the legendary Gods and Goddesses were the inspiration for countless art masterpieces. Our gallery & studio continues a long tradition of appreciation for classic art, its patronage of creativity and an open mind.
Kennedy Grace Gallery
140 Linden Ave., Unit 264
Kennedy Grace Gallery is an online and pop-up art gallery based in Long Beach, California. Established in 2017, the gallery focuses on featuring artists who have ties to Long Beach. Enjoy our full collection online, including artwork from approximately 20 artists. In-person, you can visit our carefully curated businesses that we have retail/art collaboratives with such as The Studio O.
Kristi Sutton Elias Gallery
429 Shoreline Village Dr., Unit D
The studio boasts not only a large photo shooting space but also a separate private viewing and ordering room and Art Gallery. Includes huge wood beam vaulted ceilings and 19 feet of breathtaking views of the beautiful marina, lighthouse, and Queen Mary.
180 E. Fourth St.
Established in 2018, Loiter Galleries mission is to support local underserved artists by providing affordable gallery space, promotion, and general support even during the worst of times. We believe that art is a powerful tool in the evolution of neighborhoods and cities. And that the accessibility of art is of the utmost importance.
Long Beach Museum of Art, Downtown (LBMA)
356 E. Third St.
Bringing world-class artists and gallery exhibitions as well as arts-focused educational programming to Long Beach through a downtown campus.
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
628 Alamitos Ave.
Tuesday-Friday 10AM-5PM, Saturday-Sunday 11AM-7PM
The Museum of Latin American Art expands knowledge and appreciation of modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art through its Collection, ground-breaking Exhibitions, stimulating Educational Programs, and engaging Cultural Events.
Outer Limits Tattoo & Gallery
22 S. Chestnut Pl.
Rich history, beautiful environment, and incredible artists are everything you will experience at Outer Limits Tattoo. The shop in Long Beach is the oldest continuously operated tattoo shop in America and the second oldest in the world. The inside of this gorgeous shop is a feast for those who appreciate history and vintage details. It is a world-class tattoo shop, historical site, and tattoo museum collection.
Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM)
695 Alamitos Ave.
Scattered like stars across the night sky are over 20,000 Pacific Islands in Oceania, with a human history rich in ritual, narrative tradition, innovation and art. The Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum pays our respect to the Tongva people as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, South Channel Islands).