Opening June of 2009
The Mid-City Music Center will be opening its brand-new Music Series at the “The Gallery” with two Gala Inaugural Concerts the weekend of Friday, June 19 at 8p.m. and Sunday, June 21 at 3p.m.
The Gallery, an intimate concert venue, is located within Leimert Park’s Lucy Florence Cultural Complex at 3351 W. 43rd Street, Los Angeles. The event will begin with a Piano Recital, follow with an Inaugural Ceremony, and end with a Champagne-Hors d’oeuvres Reception.
Leimert Park/Village is emerging as one of Los Angeles’ premier cultural and commercial centers. More festivals are held in Leimert Park and its village than in any other community in Los Angeles, and the region is home to many businesses. In its heyday, Leimert Park was much like Harlem’s golden era: jazz clubs, art galleries, and museums proliferated, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles lived in the neighborhood, and numerous celebrated poets and musicians frequented both the village and the park.
Leimert Park remains the cultural heartbeat of African Americans’ Los Angeles. It is also home to Asian retirees, Caucasians, and increasing numbers of Latinos. The park hosts numerous news conferences: many convening either at the Lucy Florence Coffeehouse on West 43rd Street or in triangular Leimert Plaza Park; these events occur amidst a backdrop of fountains, fully occupied benches, and on some weekends, drummers.
The city has ambitious plans for the park, and several revitalization projects have been earmarked. These include (1) maintaining the character of the village, and adding business-owner booths, (2) diversifying and increasing the capacity of businesses, (3) increasing foot traffic, (4) diversifying the patrons, (5) establishing Leimert Park as a tourist destination, (6) making the area more multi-use oriented and multi-cultural, (7) encouraging poets, artists, and musicians already within the community while attracting others from outside, (8) establishing artist-housing–also useful for security measures, (9) developing theatrical productions for various groups–youths and adults, (10) establishing an educational entity, an art library, and a museum–similar to Harlem’s Schomberg Research Center, and (11) bringing in investments–from the city, corporations, and private sources.
It is into this historic backdrop and cultural renewal that MMC intends to merge: both as a partner and as an innovator–as an extension of the established traditions as well as a beacon for the highest ideals in artistic achievement. Of late, change has come to America. Evidently, this spirit of change is alive and well in Leimert Park.
The management of MMC expressed “We look forward to seeing all music lovers at ‘The Gallery’ as often as they wish. In turn, our commitment is to bring the finest in music to mid Los Angeles. If you love great music and recognize the need for culture, we look forward to having you join us!”
Today’s Baldwin-Hills-Crenshaw Plaza, which started out, in the late 1940s, as Broadway-Crenshaw Center. It is considered the oldest continuously-operating, Post-World War II shopping center in America.
A woman walks in front of a large mural in the Leimert Park Village section of South Central Los Angeles.
LEIMERT PLAZA PARK
When most people think of Leimert Park they think of the park itself, the location for local community events, including celebrations. However, the neighorhood has lovely boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
A lovely fountain provides community space. Leimert Park and the surrounding area is patrolled by the Southwest Police Station. The area has an extremely low crime rate, and according to the police, there is no pervasive gang problem. The neighborhood prides itself on thriving businesses working within an active arts and music community.
Leimert Park is a residential neighborhood rich with Spanish Colonial style homes and post-war bungalows. “The housing development, with gracefully curving streets, includes several homes designed by such architects as Roland Coate, Richard J. Neutra and Sumner Spaulding (Oliver, LA Times)”. Many of the apartments are built in the style of the 1930s that is prevalent around the Hollywood and Sunset Junction areas, as well as many other parts of LA.