New Cultural Non-Profit 'Compound' to Open in Long Beach, California

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New Cultural Non-Profit 'Compound' to Open in Long Beach, California

This September, Compound, a new cultural non-profit dedicated to the intersection of contemporary art, wellness, and community, will open in Long Beach, California. Free and open to the public, the 15,000-square-foot complex-the first of its kind in Southern California-consists of two main buildings linked by a large outdoor courtyard and sculpture garden: The Laboratory, a building dedicated to ambitious new commissions by leading contemporary artists; and The Warehouse, a large multipurpose space for exhibitions, public programming, meditation, and its restaurant, Ellie's.

"Our mission is to create a place that is affirming, inclusive, and open. At Compound, our hope is that all visitors will find community, healing, and a great sense of belonging. We believe that culture shifts consciousness, and all are welcome to join us in experiencing art and wellness," said Founder and Executive Director Megan Tagliaferri, who designed the complex to promote empathy, social equity, and both spiritual and physical well-being.

Ahead of its physical opening this Fall, since April Compound has partnered with the national emergency grant organization Artist Relief to provide free digital wellness resources commissioned by artists with artists impacted by COVID-19 in mind. Each Monday, this weekly series is shared on Compound and Artist Relief's social media channels as part of both organization's mission to support the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their communities. Participating artists include Daniel Alexander Jones, Fariha Róisín, Jackie Sumell, Miguel Gutierrez, Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo, Sharon Bridgforth, and Mario Ybarra Jr. - co-founder of Slanguage, Compound's educational partner.

"It is important for us to be there for our community, to help them heal, learn and have access to the arts - even before we open," said Tagliafferi. In September, Compound will begin to host robust public programming to unite and inspire the community, including yoga, healing workshops, youth art classes, bilingual Spanish/English poetry readings, performances by local musicians, film screenings, hands-on gardening, and more. Guests will have the opportunity to dine at a farm-to-table Italian restaurant and bar headed by local Chef Jason Witzl of Ellie's, or browse the concept shop's curated selection of ceramics, jewelry, and limited editions from local artists.

*Artist Relief is an emergency initiative offering financial and informational resources to U.S. artists impacted by COVID-19 founded by a coalition of national arts grantmakers, including Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists.

Art's ability to produce transformative effects can be seen in Compound Commissions, the organization's signature program, supportsartistic experimentation through the production of new works of art from leading contemporary artists. These new, site-specific commissions will be on view throughout the complex's indoor and outdoor spaces.

Now on view is its first commission, a neon text-based artwork by Tavares Strachan affixed to the front of the building that reads "You Belong Here". This September, Compound will present artist Glenn Kaino's Tidepools, an intimate three-part installation composed of a cloud chamber, wishing well, and sound bath. The ambitious, interactive exhibition will fill the entirety of The Laboratory, with advance online reservations. Additional commissions by Anna Sew Hoy, Lita Albuquerque, and Chrysanne Stathacos will be on view throughout the complex.

The Warehouse will feature rotating exhibitions curated by Compound Curator and Artistic Director Lauri Firstenberg, the founder of LA>

Today marks the launch of Compound-ed, an ongoing digital editorial platform centered around its collaborating artists, partner organizations, and exhibitions. The inaugural issue of Compound-ed is centered around Chaos to Cosmos. The works and voices of these artists speak to the potential for awe, inspiration, and transformation amidst the natural forces of pandemonium in our world and beyond. Contributors include Sanaz Alesafar, a cultural strategist working within the intersection of art, culture, and film to promote narrative and social change; Steve Fawley, artist, surfer, skater, healer, author, and Long Beach local; Emma Gray, who founded "The Energetic Residency" in 2016 with a meditation studio and an art studio above her garage; and Sayon Syprasoeuth, a local artist who focuses on his personal story as a refugee from Cambodia.

Rendering of The Warehouse, including one of its smaller galleries adjacent to Ellie's restaurant. Credit: CH Design Studio.

The physical spaces are conceptualized and designed by Tagliaferri in collaboration with local firm BOA Architects, who by employing adaptive reuse maintained the integrity of two 1930s buildings. "Compound is an inclusive space for the community, and I want the design to reflect that," said Tagliaferri. Inside the original art deco façade, soft, neutral tones and a soaring wooden ceiling provide ample natural light, while natural materials reflect the California Modernism movement that was integral to the West Coast in the 1960s. "Long Beach has a rich craft tradition, and we want the community to feel empowered by that history."

Located in the Zaferia district, amid longstanding businesses and emerging design workshops, Compound embraces a unique mix of contemporary art and local culture that could only exist in Long Beach. As a creative hub where art, wellness, and social engagement meet, Compound's mission is to embrace the city's artistic and lively culture and introduce new concepts and experiences to the bustling coastal community.

At Compound, we believe culture provides a safe context to reexamine ourselves. Our goal is to unite the mind, body, and spirit into a feeling of profound connection with the self and community. We place great emphasis on belonging, and we recognize all irrespective of color, creed, gender, religion, orientation, and physical ability. We are aware of access, equity, intersectionality, and the range of other disparities that affect social relationships and cultural institutions, and have adopted a set of commitments outlining our policy of belonging.

Compound is closely monitoring COVID-19 and will follow protocol relative to public safety, work environments, cultural institutions, and dining parameters from the city, county and state, including hand sanitizer stations at doorways and social distancing markers. Compound's visitor services team will safely help navigate visitors through their experience in the complex, including the pacing of ingress and egress of the warehouses.

Photo Credit: Laure Joilet

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