A new cultural nonprofit, Compound, will open in Long Beach, California in September 2020 to provide free public programming on art and wellness. The 15,000-square-foot complex, spanning two renovated buildings, an outdoor courtyard, and a sculpture garden, will host rotating exhibitions curated by Lauri Firstenberg, the founder of LAXART. Its programmes will include yoga, meditation, art classes, performances, gardening, bilingual readings, and a “decolonize the palate” dinner series.
Founded by the designer Megan Tagliaferri, Compound aims to create a space for “education, social justice, healing, and transformation.” Tagliaferri says she hopes it will “provide a safe context for turning inward and re-examining ourselves so that we have a greater capacity for seeing the needs in our community.”
Compound’s Policy of Belonging, asserting its commitment to inclusivity, is embodied in Tavares Strachan’s neon artwork You Belong Here on the front of the building. “The work invites the community to join Compound and take up space,” Strachan says. Long Beach is a diverse city and since his piece was installed, just days after local actions in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the artist says he has heard that “neighbours have been walking past, standing in front of the work, discussing the piece or driving around and around the block to see it again and again… As we see colonial monuments toppling in our own country and abroad, [public art] is at the center of our discussion.”
The artist Glenn Kaino, whose work also features in Compound’s opening installation, believes that ideas shared through art “can inspire generations to mobilise and help make things a wider reality”.
Allie Ross, a Long Beach artist and occupational therapist, was “excited” to learn about Compound. “I’ve always seen Long Beach as a community that values inclusivity, art, and wellness, so having a space that reflects and advances those values will be a huge addition to the city.” She sees a need for “spaces like this for people who might not otherwise have access to the things Compound is offering”, including those with lower incomes.
Admission to Compound will be free, with events in its Laboratory space utilising online reservations to meet safety measures. According to organisers, Compound plans to comply “with the strictest public health protocols” when it opens.