jerry quickley

Jerry Quickley performing his piece “Live From the Front” in 2006 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

*Center Theatre Group has recently received a $600,000 grant from The James Irvine Foundation to help support CTG’s new and innovative community-based arts engagement programs.

CTG will work with Jerry Quickley as well as with Kinan Valdez and members of El Teatro Campesino on two separate projects that will increase opportunities for the African American and Latino residents of Leimert Park, Montebello and Boyle Heights to participate in the arts.

“We are grateful to the Irvine Foundation for helping us expand our notions about arts participation,” said Michael Ritchie, CTG Artistic Director. “These two projects will employ active, community-based art-making in the celebration of the diverse cultural heritage of Los Angeles. It will help expand the scope of CTG’s mission and reach, and I couldn’t be happier with the prospects.”

Performance artist Quickley will facilitate workshops that include citizens of Leimert Park and Montebello who will meet on a weekly basis to examine cultural stereotypes and to write each other’s autobiographies. From these workshops, Quickley will co-create a play in which the community participants will perform, both in their communities and at CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

El Teatro Campesino’s Producing Artistic Director KinanValdez and artists from the venerable theatre company will bring their script of “Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven,” a spectacle of puppetry and pageantry that recounts the Mayan creation story, to Boyle Heights. Here residents will help adapt the piece for the community, making large-scale puppets and masks, adding local references and sounds, and performing alongside ETC’s professional actors and musicians in free outdoor performances at the Music Center’s Grand Park.

“Popol Vuh” will be created at CTG’s costume and prop shop in Boyle Heights, where CTG’s Education and Community Partnerships department has created The Shop programming with a series of workshops and events that offer Boyle Heights residents a chance to express creativity, build community and connect the craft of theatre with their daily lives.

CTG’s two-year grant is one of six awarded to nonprofit arts organizations by The James Irvine Foundation under its Exploring Engagement Fund for Larger Organizations program.

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grant-making foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. The Foundation’s grant-making focuses on three program areas: Arts, California Democracy and Youth. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided over $1.3 billion in grants to more than 3,500 nonprofit organizations throughout California. With about $1.8 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $69 million in 2013 for the people of California.

Center Theatre Group’s mission is to serve the diverse audiences of Los Angeles by producing and presenting theatre of the highest caliber, by nurturing new audiences, by attracting new audiences, and by developing youth outreach and arts education programs. On its three stages – the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and the Kirk Douglas Theatre – CTG presents the highest quality and broadest range of theatre: groundbreaking new works, explosive productions of the classics and hit Broadway plays and musicals.


L.A.’s Theatre Company
Ahmanson Theatre  |  Mark Taper Forum  |  Kirk Douglas Theatre