Inglewood dairy mart turned gallery displays art for social justice

Three graduates of UCS's Roski MFA program turned a dairy mart into an art gallery in Inglewood.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- An art gallery in Inglewood is using art for social justice during a time when the country is in a state of social unrest, but there's something unique about this gallery in particular.

Three graduates of USC's Roski MFA program, Patrisse Cullors, Noé Olivas and Alexandre Dorriz have repurposed the Crenshaw Dairy Mart into an art gallery and studio. However, the three co-founders said they want the space to be more than just an art gallery.

"The dairy mart is not just an art space, it's an activist space," said Cullors. "It's a space where we see the role of Inglewood and South Central as a critical part of the landscape of Los Angeles and, I would argue, the country."

Cullors, Olivas and Dorriz took over the property in 2018 but didn't open up until February of 2020. They said they used the time to hold conversations and meetings with the people of the community.

"We didn't grow up in Inglewood," Cullors said. "So, we wanted to be really respectful about how we show up inside of Inglewood and on the Crenshaw Dairy Mart property in particular."

When the owners came into the property at the Crenshaw Dairy Mart they said they wanted to keep the name, the sign, essentially the essence of the space the same. They said they wanted to become a part of the community instead of changing it.

"It was just really important for us to kind of keep that name because we want to be part of that neighborhood," Olivas said. "And also, that name has history for that neighbor and we didn't want to change it at all."

"We need to really speak of the conditions of displacement and gentrification in this community," Dorriz said. "And just being like, what is happening, what are the conditions of it, and ensuring that everything that we do is within this narrative of cultural retention, and making sure that all of the resources that are put into the Crenshaw Diary Mart are repatriated back into the community."

Right now, the Crenshaw Dairy Mart is accepting guests by appointment only due to COVID and although they don't have milk on the menu, the three co-founders are hoping to deliver a different type of sustenance.

"We don't have candy bars or like Gatorade or things to serve right now," Dorriz said. "But, we have a different type of conversation to serve the community, we hope. So, I think that's kind of the next chapter of how we see how it fulfills the narrative of a dairy mart really."

The Crenshaw Dairy Mart is located at 8629 Crenshaw Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90305.
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