Compton Art and History Museum (Cheryl Eckford/L.A. Sentinel)

“Scenes of Liberation,” is exhibiting through the end of July at the Compton Art and History Museum, located at 306 West Compton Boulevard, #104, in the city of Compton.  Three artists and a poet are featured in the display.

According to Marquell Byrd and Abigail Lopez-Byrd, the husband-and-wife founders of the museum, “The exhibition promises to explore themes of liberation and freedom from the Black and Brown woman gaze.”

One of the artists, Saidah Gray, showcased her installation, which included a piece with beautiful pink curtains representing “ancestors before slavery and the wealth of royalty divine and rich with wisdom,” said Yaileen Zamora, art teacher and museum assistant, as she shared how Gray, a Los Angeles-based artist, described her own art.

Related Links:

Zamora, who is also a social media and video associate for Color Compton, added, “The dirt at the bottom of the curtain represents the challenges and trauma faced in slavery and in present times. The rose planted in the dirt symbolizes the beauty and wealth that we are still able to pursue despite what was taken from us.”

The piece is embellished with a poem by Tayllor Johnson entitled, “This one is for my sisters.”

Marquell Byrd and Abigail Lopez-Byrd (Courtesy photo)

Explaining how the museum was launched, Abigail said, “We started off as a non-profit, The Color Compton, which was established in 2019, to help young people build community through art and history.  Then we got our location in 2022 for Compton Art & History Museum.”

The facility contains the museum downstairs which presents artwork by Black and Brown artists. The offices of Color Compton are located upstairs and includes classrooms, a media room, and a space for artwork and photographs to be digitized and archived. Antoinette Martin serves as program coordinator for Color Compton.

“Color Compton is based on its logo of four pillars, which are art, history, identity, community. Our logo is modeled off the Martin Luther King monument at the Compton Court house which has several pillars while Color Compton has four,” said Abigail.

Included in the pillars is the Art Abolitionist incubator, which is a youth series offering internships for high school students.

“This is a three-year model where we are trying to teach young people the importance of telling their story,” Abigail noted. “We give them skills and they receive mentorships, they also put together a portfolio for their college career.”

The Archive Fellowship is geared for young adults, ages 18-22, in the Compton community.  The one-year paid fellowship starts in the summer and it focuses on “the importance of documenting stories…bring in those family photos,” Abigail explained.

“We invite the community to come and see what we do, and we also have a partnership with the schools where we take students to museums,” she said.

A colorful mural decorates the wall outside the museum. (Cheryl Eckford/L.A. Sentinel)

Elaborating on the couple’s reasons for launching the museum, Abigail recalled that she and her husband decided to follow their dream.

“As far as we knew, there is no other art history museum in Compton. We didn’t have a creative space in the city and we didn’t have a museum that highlights local art and history in the city,” she said, but with the opening of the Compton Art and History Museum, youth along with people of all ages can learn about Compton’s creative roots.  “As a small family we are able to do so much,” shared Abigail and Marquell.

The public can discover more about the Compton Art and History Museum by attending its Turning Three celebration on Saturday, August 26.  Free refreshments and information will be available.

To learn more or to donate to the museum, call (310) 554-4429, email [email protected], or visit