acres of books building in dtlb

Long Beach, CA (January 4, 2024) – In partnership with the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA), Studio One Eleven is thrilled to launch the “We Activate Our Cities” initiative with the “Counter:image” exhibition at the iconic Acres of Books Building in the DTLB Design District, in conjunction with the quarterly Downtown Long Beach Art Walk. The event will take place on Saturday, January 13, 2024, from 4 to 9 PM. This will be the first time the iconic Acres of Books building will be activated since 2008. 

“We Activate Our Cities” is an initiative of the DTLB Design District, an emerging area of Downtown Long Beach that champions architecture and design firms, design-centric small businesses, art galleries, and more. 

“We’re excited to have Studio One Eleven join our other dedicated Downtown Long Beach partners in making the quarterly Art Walk an experience for the entire city,” said DLBA President & CEO Austin Metoyer. “The Acres of Books location has a rich history in Downtown, and it’s great that Studio One Eleven has chosen this historic site to host their artistic activation which focuses on the power of community and urban centers.”  

The exhibit — “Counter:image” — invites us to explore diverse perspectives through the lens of multidisciplinary contemporary artists.  

“The exhibition fosters a visual dialogue that contradicts, compares, and contrasts mainstream narratives, challenging viewers to question the stories they consume.” said Studio One Eleven Director of Marketing and Special Projects Sinead Finnerty-Pyne. “This exploration aims to showcase the power of artistic expression to reframe, redefine, and counter the images shaping our understanding of the world.” 

The exhibition will take place in the former Acres of Books building, an iconic cultural space that will be reactivated for the first time since its closing in 2008. This historic location adds a layer of significance to “Counter:image,” contributing to the immersive experience of exploring alternative perspectives within a space rich with cultural history. We extend a special thanks to Urbana Development for use of their space. 

Featured Artists: 

Chakravartin Sokhomsan: @chakra.sok @modernapsaraco  

  • Dance Performances will be held at 6 and 8 PM 
  • Raised by Khmer refugee parents in Long Beach, CA, Chakravartin Sokhomsan, an activist, artist, and educator, found his artistic passion within the local Cambodian community. With over a decade of Khmer Classical Dance training under Prumsodun Ok, Charya Burt, and Reaksmey “Mea” Lath, Chakra is currently pursuing a BA in Dance at Dickinson College. 
  • Chakra, a cis-male dancer, challenges norms by entering the female-dominated world of Cambodian Ballet, aiming to reshape perceptions within this classical style. Simultaneously, he connects Cambodian Ballet and Modern dance, crafting a narrative that reflects his diasporic identity. Collaborating with the Modern Apsara Company during his undergrad, Chakra contributes to bridging the modern world with the sacred art of Cambodian classical dance, preserving traditions and showcasing them in diverse communities. 

Studio One Eleven Artist-in-Residence Mario Ybarra Jr. and Slanguage Studio: @mario_ybarra_jr @slanguagestudio  

  • “We Activate our Cities” silkscreen activity and giveaway  
  • Slanguage Studio, founded by Mario Ybarra and Karla Diaz in 2002, operates as an artist collective with a mission that encompasses education, community-building, and interactive exhibitions. Their approach suggests a commitment to not only creating art but also fostering learning, strengthening community ties, and engaging audiences through interactive displays. “We Activate Our Cities” is a grassroots call to action, urging individuals to participate in revitalizing urban cores by bringing art culture and design back into these spaces. The silkscreen activity and giveaway serve as a hands-on and tangible way for people to engage with the artistic process while contributing to the broader mission of activating cities through art. 

Monica Nouwens: @monicanouwens 

  • Featured Work: “City Noir: Fragmented Realities” 
  • Nouwens’ poetic exploration of Los Angeles captures the city’s multifaceted identity, transcending traditional documentation. The series delves into sharp contrasts between high-end consumerism, vibrant youth culture, and the harsh realities of homelessness, using a cinematic aesthetic reminiscent of old Hollywood noir. 

Phung Huynh: @phungxhuynh  

  • Featured Work: “THE PINK DONUT BOX: Tracing Stories of Cambodian and Vietnamese Refugees” 
  • Huynh’s drawings on pink donut boxes and paintings unpack the complexities of immigration, displacement, and cultural assimilation within Southeast Asian communities. The artist challenges beauty standards and explores the complexities of assimilation and cultural negotiation among Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees through her unique artistry. 

Seria Project – Dasha Podoltseva and Elena Orap: @seria_number 

  • Featured Work: “Fragile Brutalism” 
  • The graphic designer and architect duo’s project is a devoted exploration of brutalist mass housing in Ukraine. “SERIA__” aims to raise awareness of Ukraine’s architectural heritage, particularly the neglected ‘panelki,’ while considering the impact of the ongoing war on these structures. (presented by @art.territory.ua) 

Adam Leeman: @billsteamboat 

  • Featured Work: “Empty Space Chronicles” 
  • Adam’s art delves into the ethereal realm of “empty space” within atoms—the very essence of human existence. Inviting contemplation of the unexplained, especially the marvel of consciousness beyond full scientific understanding, his work is inspired by the Space + Light Movement. Utilizing site-specific installations with a focus on color and immateriality through film, light, and sculpture, Adam orchestrates an exploration of unseen wonders. Encouraging a thoughtful pause, his creative endeavors prompt viewers to reflect on the everyday interplay of light, weaving mood and magic into our surroundings. 

 “Counter:image” was curated by Studio One Eleven Artist-in-Residence Mario Ybarra Jr. and Studio One Eleven Marketing and Special Projects Director Sinead Finnerty-Pyne. The partnership is proud to be held in conjunction with the Downtown Long Beach Art Walk, an initiative aiming to build on the energy of the monthly 2nd Saturday Art Walk in the East Village. This larger quarterly event pulls together the entire Downtown and surrounding area, providing a unique opportunity for art enthusiasts to engage with a diverse range of artistic expressions. “Counter:image” promises a thought-provoking experience that challenges preconceptions and invites attendees to engage in a dynamic conversation about the complex narratives shaping our world.  

The entire region is invited to join us at Acres of Books on January 13, 2024, in the DTLB Design District, to be a part of this artistic exploration. More info on the DTLB Art Walk is available here. Photos of the above-mentioned artists and their work are available here.

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About Studio One Eleven and the DTLB Design District: The overall location for the event is the DTLB Design District, an emerging hub in downtown Long Beach that champions design-centric small businesses, makers, art galleries, and more. The DTLB Design District aims to create a hub for design excellence and innovation in downtown Long Beach, fostering a community of designers and creatives who share a passion for design. Information on the Design District can be found on Instagram @dtlbdesigndistrict.  

About the Downtown Long Beach Alliance: DLBA is a non-profit, community-based organization whose mission is to cultivate, preserve and promote a healthy, safe, and prosperous Downtown for all. By balancing the interests of the residents, as well as businesses, the DLBA creates tangible progress by way of vested interest and solidified partnerships across local, municipal, and commercial lines. For additional information, visit www.downtownlongbeach.org, or follow on Facebook @downtownlongbeach, and on X (formerly Twitter) @dlba and Instagram @dlba.