Art and Culture in NELA, July 2021

“Rochelle and Sandy” (1980) by Nick Taggert, one of several works on view at ODD ARK.

By Pablo Nukaya-Petralia

The art and culture offerings in NELA in July range from new art exhibits, the return of live theatre, film and and a major new mural underway in Highland Park. 


The Highland Park art gallery ODD ARK•LA will feature the work of artist Nick Taggert in the closing weeks of its current exhibit, “LA Stories: Paintings and Drawings from 1980.” The show, closing Aug. 1, highlights Taggert’s bright, vivid depictions of SoCal life and culture in the 80s. A catalogue of the show can be seen here. Visits are by appointment only and can be booked at this link.

Clockshop and California State Parks

Clockshop and California State Parks will host their first annual people’s kite festival at the Los Angeles State Historic Park July 17. Titled “Community & Unity”, the free family event will highlight the art of kite making with several kite masters, in addition to printmaking workshops and musical performances. Registration for the event can be found here, as well as an optional donation form.

Occidental Children’s Theater

Live theater returns at Occidental College in the form of the long-running Occidental Children’s Theater. Now in its 25th year, the theater troupe of current Occidental students and alums will present their latest mash-up: “The Boy Who Cried Wolfman.” Performances take place outdoors at the Remsen Bird Hillside Theater, also known as the Greek Bowl.

Shows will run from the present until Aug. 21. Tickets can be purchased at this link.

Leticia Maldonado, Just a Moment, Let Me Get My Things (trumpet detail), 2021. 6mm clear glass, pumped with neon gas. | Courtesy of the artist and Bermudez Projects, Los Angeles.

Bermudez Projects

A new exhibit at Bermudez Projects in Cypress Park will highlight the neon sculptures of Highland Park-based artist Leticia Maldonado. Entitled “Autonoetic,” the exhibit features objects “that hold a story, but are also repositories for energy, saved to be engaged from future perspectives,” according to the program notes to the exhibition. An in-person opening reception will take place at the gallery July 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with no RSVP needed. The exhibition runs until Aug. 28.

Highland Park Indie Film Fest

Local filmmakers have until Aug. 9 to enter the 8th Annual Highland Park Independent Film Festival. The festival seeks entries in all genres, including feature length films, shorts and documentaries. Multiple awards are up for grabs: In addition to genre-specific awards such as “Best Feature” or “Best Documentary,” all submissions will be eligible for “Best Cinematography” and “Best Musical Composition.” Learn more about the festival and how to submit here. To see how the film festival has grown and innovated over the years — without sacrificing its focus on local filmmakers and local audiences — see our coverage of the 2020 drive-in festival and the festival in 2019, with its special honors for actor Danny Trejo, held at the fest’s traditional location, the Highland Theatre on Figueroa St.

Photo courtesy of Tapeheads


Operating out of a lending library-style shelf at the top north end of Vincent Avenue in Eagle Rock, Tapeheads loans out VCR tapes — yes, VCRs — of classic films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Graduate and Some Like It Hot. Loans are free and you’re invited to “borrow, swap and steal” from the extensive collection. For those who no longer own a VCR player (or never did), Tapeheads will loan out a TV with a built-in player for free (direct message them on their Instagram to get on the waiting list). A second Tapeheads shelf, aptly named “Tapeheads 2,” is available in West Los Angeles.

“Earth Mother,” a mural by Ernesto de la Loza and Sandra de la Loza, is being painted on the side wall of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Highland Park. | Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood

 A major mural takes shape in Highland Park

Work is underway on Highland Park’s newest mural, entitled “Earth Mother,” by local brother and sister artists Ernesto de la Loza and Sandra de la Loza. Located on the side wall of the Planned Parenthood clinic at Figueroa Street and Avenue 59, the mural was commissioned by Planned Parenthood last year after a design competition that drew 78 submissions, 9 finalists and nearly 4,000 votes from community members. You can read about the artists and their Earth Mother mural design here. 

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Pablo Nukaya-Petralia is a writer and editor from Los Angeles, CA. An Eagle Rock native and graduate of Occidental College, he regularly covers local art and culture while also working as the social media manager for the Boulevard Sentinel. Feel free to contact him at [email protected] with tips and news.