Why was 356 Mission founded?
356 Mission is a collaborative project that prioritizes cultural and arts programming that is open and available to everyone.
How does 356 Mission work?
356 Mission provides an extensive schedule of exhibition and event programming, free and open to the public. Artwork on display is often for sale, and proceeds are split between the artist and 356 Mission. All proceeds collected by 356 Mission are put back into programming. It is not a business geared towards financial gain.
What happens at 356 Mission?
356 Mission hosts over 10 exhibitions and over 50 events a year. We work directly with artists and curators, and accept proposals for events and projects. Events include performances, screenings, discussions, concerts, and readings. 356 Mission occasionally hosts events to raise money for causes that are important to us, through suggested donations at the door or the sale of artwork. For these events, all monies collected go directly to the cause. We have a longstanding relationship with Reach LA, for whom we have hosted many fundraising events over the years. We have also raised money for the ACLU, The Smell, Proyecto Pastoral, Bar Fund, Palestinians working towards a return to self-reliance, and Kitten Rescue.
Is 356 Mission Wheelchair Accessible?Yes. 356 Mission/Ooga Twooga’s front entrance has five steps. A wheelchair elevator is available through our side lot entrance on Mission Road as well as an elevator to our downstairs exhibition space. There is a wheelchair accessible bathroom in Ooga Twooga and all bathrooms are gender neutral. For more information about accessibility, please email email@example.com or call/text us (323) 609-3162.
Does 356 Mission accept exhibition or event proposals?
356 Mission welcomes proposals for events and exhibitions that are aligned with our commitment to offering free and accessible programs to all. All proposals are reviewed by gallery staff on a rolling basis.
Please note that we do not rent out our space for commercial events or film production
To request floor plans and to submit a proposal, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of the project, desired duration of event or exhibition, material needs (if any) and preferred space at 356 Mission that best fits your proposal.
Does 356 Mission own or rent?
356 Mission does not own the building in which it operates. We rent the building from Boyle Heights Properties and began renting in 2012. The space was not rented from 2009 until 2012, and prior to 2009, it was a piano storage building for decades.
356 Mission has never participated in a “Boyle Heights Arts District” as designated by the city or otherwise. 356 Mission is not connected to any developers. We rent from Boyle Heights Properties at market-rate. The founders and staff of 356 Mission do not own any property in Boyle Heights. Gavin Brown has never owned any of the properties where he has operated his gallery, and has never been involved in real estate development.
We never rent out the space for any private or commercial use, advertising, filming, or marketing.
Is the staff paid?Our staff is paid living wages that include health care benefits. All 356 Mission interns are currently compensated through paid stipends or academic credit.
356 Mission is proactively against police surveillance and against any increased police presence around the gallery. We have consistently sought non-police solutions for the gallery. Any contact we have had with police has been in the effort to de-escalate their involvement in the area.
Have there been protests at 356 Mission?
Two events at 356 Mission have drawn protestors – a political organizing meeting for artists in February 2017, and an opening reception for an exhibition in April 2017.
Have you met with the protestors?
Yes. We first reached out to the protestors for a meeting in July 2016. After months of repeated requests, the protestors granted us a meeting in May 2017. We met for over an hour at their offices. Although we brought suggestions and hopes for a coalition dedicated to fighting displacement, they were unwilling to hear our ideas unless we agreed to their demands: the immediate end of all activity and the dissolution of 356 Mission. We would then be required to turn over control of the building to the protestors, while continuing to pay the rent in support of their undisclosed use of the space. Finally, they insisted we sign a statement of their design supporting their point of view and condemning art spaces in Boyle Heights. They told us they would not be willing to meet again until we first agreed to these demands.
Why don’t you just move?
We have asked ourselves many times if closing 356 and abandoning our lease would stabilize rent prices or help stop developers from changing the neighborhood and raising rents further. After much inquiry, research and discussion, we have always come back to the conclusion that breaking our lease and leaving would not help solve the housing crisis or slow development. Boyle Heights has long been a place of cultural and artistic production, and 356 is only a very small and relatively recent addition to this amazing community of artists. We have met many people from the neighborhood and it is a diverse community with varying perspectives on how to approach the looming issues of the housing crisis and displacement. We disagree with the protestors’ claims to speak for this neighborhood. Alongside the protestors’ demands to close, we have also heard the voices of artists, community groups, families, and individuals in the area who want 356 to remain open. In addition to urgent basic needs and facilities, people in all neighborhoods, of all ethnicities and classes, benefit from quality education and art. We do not believe that access to one should sacrifice the other in a healthy and thriving society.
What happens next?
We continue to work with our partners in Boyle Heights and throughout the city to battle the issues facing our communities and, we continue to support the work of artists through exhibitions, events, and workshops. We welcome any new circumstances that would allow us to increase this work. We have had many constructive conversations with artists, our neighbors, and our friends, and remain open to dialogue.
A November 2017 statement by Laura Owens can be found HERE
A February 2017 statement about 356 Mission and protests can be found HERE
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or to clarify any of these points, by email (email@example.com) or by phone (323-609-3162).