ArtsFest at the East L.A. Civic Center/ Photo by Abe Flores

Surrounded by meandering ducks in Belvedere Park Lake, dancers of all ages and abilities moved to salsa rhythms at the East Los Angeles Civic Center outdoor amphitheater last Friday.

Local residents and artists selling their work clapped with approval, as Contra-Tiempo, an urban Latin dance company, led in a rueda dance, a cuban form of salsa danced in a circle.

The event was part of the free East L.A. ArtsFest and J.A.M Sessions, a summer-long series featuring an art walk, live bands, movies, dance and music workshops. The program is hosted by the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and the Department of Parks and Recreation, and is produced in partnership with the Ford Theatre Foundation.

“As a strong supporter of the arts, I am proud of the Ford Theatre’s partnership with our East LA ArtsFest, and for helping us bring active arts into the East Los Angeles community. I look forward to local residents and visitors participating in the exciting summer line-up at the East LA Civic Center,” said L.A County Supervisor Gloria Molina in a press release.

Created with community input, the Civic Center serves as both as a “city hall,” where people come to access county services, and a “cultural destination,” explained Angie Castro, senior deputy for Supervisor Molina. “We not only want local residents to come but we also want people from throughout to discover East Los Angeles and get here riding the metro,” said Castro.

The East Los Angeles Civic Center is a community hub with a Metro Gold Line station, library, park, sheriff’s station, health center and a courthouse.

The Civic Center also hosts a Farmers Market, fishing derbies, food tastings and an upcoming bicycle kitchen and ride.

Tonight: Enjoy a Drum Circle with Chris Ramirez and a movie at sunset!

The fun continues through August 31. For more information and a complete list of events visit: and
Abe Flores is a Boyle Heights resident and Advocacy Field Manager for Arts for LA, an arts education advocacy organization, where he leads advocacy workshops to create networks of arts advocates in L.A. County.

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