Despite a global pandemic and the cancelation of all mass gatherings in Los Angeles, Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices 2020—a free annual arts and culture fest—will proceed to take place April 25 and 26 with a twist: the entire programming of music, artists, panels and workshops will now take place online via Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and grandparkla.org.
“We decided to embrace the change and face it with hope,” says Marty Preciado, program manager for Grand Park.
Whereas other shows and events have been canceled altogether, the organizers at The Music Center decided to push through and bring the experience online. Preciado tells Remezcla that the move to re-scale the fest and move over 20 artists and 18 hours of activities to social media was unprecedented, but felt necessary during such troubling times.
“As we move into an unknown world, and re-imagine how we navigate in it, I am certain that art and our artist community will guide and shape our thought about how we build a new world with values that illuminate diverse voices and perspectives,” says Preciado. “Our L.A. Voices 2020 serves as a conduit where artists and community members come together to engage in cultural and civic discourse around art.”
The virtual showcase will feature numerous renowned L.A. artists across different mediums, including former L.A. Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, poet Yesika Salgado, Gloria Lucas of Nalgona Positivity Pride/Mujeres Market and multi-media journalist Samanta Helou Hernandez among others.
This year, Balún, an indie/experimental transnational band from Brooklyn (with Puerto Rican roots), is headlining the music portion of the event. According to Preciado, all band members are currently quarantined in their respective homes, so audiences should expect to see a creative performance mitigated by distance. The inclusion of an act that wasn’t Mexican or Central American (two groups that make up the majority population in Los Angeles) was intentional.
“In Los Angeles, we have a heavy Mexican-centric approach to what constitutes Latinidad. However, our identities are vast, complex and nuanced,” says Preciado, “And Balún is the perfect illustrator of the myriad expressions and sounds in our communities.”
Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices: A Pop-up Arts+Culture Fest, takes place Saturday April 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday April 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. See here for a full schedule of the programming.