Poet/Musician Ruben Guevara was named a Boyle Heights Cultural Treasure. / Photo by Yazmin Nuñez
Community members on Saturday came out to Self Help Graphics and Art to celebrate and recognize “cultural treasures” in Boyle Heights. Artist performances, video screenings and a bike tour were some of the events scheduled throughout the afternoon.

The event was held to kickoff the Boyle Heights Cultural Treasures Project, led by The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) and the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities. Boyle Heights is one of fourteen communities in the statewide campaign project.

Through interviews and surveys, a task force of volunteers and community organizations have begun identifying and creating an inventory of cultural treasures in the community; including artists, organizations and places.

To date, more than 100 treasures have been identified, including poet/musician Ruben Guevara.

Guevara says it’s an honor to be recognized as a cultural treasure in a place where he was born and raised. He says, “I combine artistic work with community activism. The two together is a full-time job.”

He says he gets his inspiration from “people, life, life experiences and my neighborhood ”“ Boyle Heights.”

ACTA Executive Director Amy Kitchener says the idea behind the project is to have people share collective memories to make positive changes. She says, “cultural assets, people, and organizations are a source of strength and knowledge”¦ and a foundation for making healthy communities.”

The project will be on-going and organizers hope community members will get involved and nominate other people, or places in the neighborhood.

To learn more about the project, or nominate a possible cultural treasure fill out this survey in English and in Spanish.

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