The laid-back yet lively sound of “Baila Esta Cumbia,” one of Queen Tejano Selena’s favorite hits, echoed throughout the Dolby Family Terrace on the top floor of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on Sunday. The song was playing as part of a single – and signed – run by Deaf West Theater in English, Spanish and American Sign Language as a preview for the biopic’s 25th anniversary screenings. Selenaa centerpiece of the museum’s 2nd annual community celebration event.
As part of its founding commitment to accessibility and inclusion, the museum hosted a day of free food, drink and activities focusing on art and culture by and for residents of Los Angeles. While the celebration was open to all visitors on Sunday, the museum worked with a dozen community partners to invite their constituents to take advantage of free admission.
“We could potentially go the other way by opening up this event and making it public, but for us it’s a real intentional way to make sure we’re targeting communities that are historically excluded from museums and art institutions,” said the director of the Academy Museum. community and impact Marty Preciado tells The Hollywood Reporter. This targeted effort included coverage of $15 per ride for transportation via Uber and Lyft.
Although more than 1,400 guests showed up through an invitation to the community celebration on Sunday – up from nearly 1,300 at the inaugural celebration last October – the mood throughout the day was relaxed, with people representing a wide range of ages and races enjoying the museum’s various public spaces as a place to reunite with family and friends.
The Selena Spotlight, which also included a conversation between director Gregory Nava and journalist Maria Garcia (creator and host of the Everything for Selena podcast), was accompanied by screenings of two short films from the Youth Cinema Project of the Latino Film Institute. Elsewhere in the museum, highlights of the community celebration included guided tours of the Film Stories galleries, DJ sets from the Chulita Vinyl Club! and KG Superstar, as well as many interactive activities: a collaborative portrait session led by Las Fotos Project, scratching and mixing lessons from the Chulita Vinyl Club! and 4C Lab dance, and hands-on workshops on button making and tactile filmmaking.
“Traditionally, museums are experienced by reading labels or listening to gallery content, but we want people to get up and move, make and create,” said Amy Homma, vice president of education and public engagement at the Academy Museum.
“It’s been so wonderful to have taken this building and transformed it,” says Dorsay Dujon, who has lived in the neighborhood since the museum site became known as the May Company Building. She was a strong supporter of the Academy’s plans to transform the venue and was now making her first visit to the museum during the community celebration. “As fun as it is a tourist attraction, it’s for people who live in the city. It’s an educational opportunity for people who go to the movies to be able to come here.
Given the lineup and food and drink vendors — Tortas Chago, Burritos La Palma, El Cartel, Trejo’s Tacos, and El Oasis, as well as Vurger Guyz, PBJLA, and Little Ethiopia Favorite Meals by Genet — one would assume the celebration community was specifically a Latino-themed event, but Preciado and Homma note that the day is simply a reflection of the true makeup of Los Angeles County, which is 49% Latino.
“We constantly strive to make the museum an accessible and affordable space,” says Preciado. “While we talk about inclusion, it is also about how we activate the agency of our communities to ensure that once they are in the museum, they find themselves honored, reflected and celebrated in the work we do.”
Accessibility measures during the Community Celebration included all posters and print resources in English and Spanish, Spanish and ASL animation available during tours and workshops, and open captioning during the Selena projections. Many of these features are part of the Museum’s regular offerings, which include monthly screenings of accommodating films with open subtitles, ASL tours, and “Morning Calm” sessions for visitors sensitive to visual and auditory stimulation.