The writing is on the wall. The staircase. The kitchen table. Rather than tear your hair out, embrace graffiti art by checking out SCRATCH at ESMoA with your doodle-happy clan.  The new experience at El Segundo’s little gem of an art museum is an eye-popping, floor-to-ceiling collaboration between six of LA’s top street and tattoo artists.  Art has never been so cool.

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Yes, We Can All Get Along
Inspired by rare 16th century painted friendship-books featured in glass cases throughout the space, the project goes to show that graffiti artists (and wall scribbling tykes) have been around for centuries. Bold street images cover every inch of usable space, transforming the gallery into
a life size black book—another name for a street artist’s sketchbook for jotting down inspiration, ideas, and works in progress. Working together as colleagues as opposed to rivals, the artists dubbed their amazing collaboration, LA Liber Amicorum or LA Book of Friends.

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One Sunday a month, the museum hosts family days that start off with a kid-friendly discussion of the show followed by hands-on activities tailored for all ages. For instance, kiddos might make their own black book, which they can then ask friends and fellow artists to draw in or “hit” or create their own tote bags with graffiti-inspired lettering and urban-inspired characters.

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No Reading Required
The first thing kids notice and respond to is how hands on the exhibit is.  A wax wall is located at the entrance to the main gallery where visitors/kids can etch their names or “mark their territory” right from the get go.  Tech-loving whippersnappers will also dig the ipad kiosks for scrolling through the images of the show. On principle, there are never any plaques beside the artwork at ESMoA to interfere with your personal experience. It’s totally up to you to find out more info. Or not.

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A Museum Is Born
Passionate collectors Brian and Eva Sweeney (parents of three) originally intended the museum as a storage unit for their incredible art collection—we’re talking Warhols, Monets, Picassos—when the city approached them about opening the space up to the public at least one day a week (it’s currently open Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.). The gallery is closed to the public Monday through Thursday, but is open to schools, who would be wise to take advantage of ESMoA’s incredibly knowledgeable educators. In addition to the main gallery, there’s also a classroom on the second floor where students can explore their creativity using a variety of materials.

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And, last but not least, a visit to this pint-sized modern art hub is free. Talk about
serious street cred.

Great Times To Visit
The following Sundays are Family Days: July 20th, August 24th, and then September
21st, which is the closing date of SCRATCH.

Or, if you’re got a toddler, PLAY @ ESMoA is their early childhood program designed for 3 – 4 year olds and their favorite grown-up.  You can check it out Saturdays in July from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. and explore SCRATCH with an Education Specialist.

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ESMoA
208 Main Street
El Segundo, Ca  90245
Phone: (424) 277-1020
Online: esmoa.org

-Andrea Arria-Devoe

Photo credit: ESMoA

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