In honor and celebration of Black History Month, the Los Angeles Chargers and Inner-City Arts, a non-profit that offers a safe campus for students of all ages to harbor their talent for arts, teamed up for a very special virtual art showcase.
Seven college-aged artists, or "Enterprisers" as they were known, each created two pieces of art celebrating Black Angelenos from various industries including sports, fashion, politics, and more. These pieces highlighted the lives and contributions of those "celebrants" who have impacted communities, industries, and generations.
"It was important for us to work with Inner City Arts on this project for Black History Month because it created the opportunity for these young artists to reflect on and celebrate the success of Black Angelenos," said Heather Birdsall, Chargers Director Community Partnerships. "Several artists chose individuals from their neighborhoods, which just shows how much of a positive impact one person can have on their own community."
"Having the Chargers involved was a tremendous opportunity for the Enterprisers, which came across in their enthusiasm and delight when answering questions at the showcase," added Ashley Margo, a graphic design teaching artist with Inner-City Arts. "As young artists and professionals, the Enterprisers gained insight into the Chargers organization, were exposed to a larger audience at every step of the process, had the chance to practice communication skills with a prestigious organization, and more finely tune their craft. Additionally, now more so than ever, having the time to connect and collaborate as artists during our virtual working sessions was invaluable."
The Chargers and Inner-City Arts team worked together on this month-long program. The Enterprisers had multiple virtual meetings with Chargers staff members as part of the commission process and even got feedback from the Chargers design team on their art pieces.
"Halfway through the process, the Chargers team came in to provide feedback on what they were seeing," mentioned Holli Hornlien, Associate Director of Work of Art, Inner-City Arts' program for future creative professionals. "Receiving and incorporating client feedback is an essential skill for emerging artists. Working towards timelines is another really important thing the Enterprisers practiced during this project. Collaboration, communication, and developing a strong sense of self and pride in one's work are also wonderful results of having an opportunity to work like this."
But then on Monday, Feb. 22, the program culminated in the showcase where the Enterprisers displayed and discussed their work with a virtual audience. Those in attendance even included some of the Enterprisers' celebrants.
"Being involved throughout the process and knowing what to expect with their art pieces, it was exciting and heartfelt to read and hear the audience and celebrants' reactions to the evening," mentioned Margo. "Hearing the Enterprisers' eloquent and thoughtful responses during the Q&A publicly displayed the pride they had throughout the entire process. I learned a lot about some inspiring Angelenos along the way!"
"It was inspiring to see the artwork from the Enterprisers," reflected Birdsall. "The thought they put into their choices about the subjects and their artwork was truly exceptional. They have such tremendous talent and an enthusiasm for the topic that resonated with those of us viewing the virtual art showcase."
All the amazing work the Enterprisers created can be viewed here.