Since 2014, the Arts Bridging the Gap team has worked with many diverse communities of Los Angeles with the intention of honoring cultural, historical, and life experiences whilst bringing together diverse groups of people to participate in our projects. We have done so to build relationships and friendships across divides, to acknowledge biases and pain within our city and begin the healing process, and to lay the foundation to build stronger, more inclusive communities led by mindful and resilient local leaders.
Sometimes, our intentions can be misunderstood and hurt those we care for the most – the community that we are working within and with. Recently, it came to our attention that one of our murals – that appeared to be part of a larger project consisting of 150 community-focused pieces that are public facing and spread positive messages – did just that. The mural in question was not a public one; rather, it was one we completed within a LAPD station. We have a long-standing partnership with the LAPD and made the decision to offer each station an additional mural that is not part of our LA Street Art Initiative to recognize their support of our community building work and to acknowledge their commitment to changing the face of policing in Los Angeles.
When painting that mural, we were asked to reference events in our city’s history, dark events that were hurtful to many. We now understand that that pain is still experienced in too many communities. Our reference to them was not meant to exacerbate that pain. Instead, we meant to remind LAPD officers that those moments served as turning points in their culture, a culture that now emphasizes community-based policing and more safe, peaceful, and inclusive interactions with the public. This message was not well enough conveyed and for that we deeply apologize.
Moving forward, the entire Arts Bridging the Gap team will continue to welcome and invite any and every opportunity to meet, learn from, and collaborate with local leaders and artists. We strive to bring groups together and empower new voices in our city and hope to continue building a brighter future for the city of Los Angeles and all that call it home.
To learn more about our long standing official commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion please read our statement/policy on our website at: http://www.artsbridgingthegap.org