Founded in 1970 in the heart of East Los Angeles, Self Help Graphics and Art is dedicated to the production, interpretation, and distribution of prints and other art media by Chicana/o and Latina/o artists.
Our multi-disciplinary, inter-generational programs promote artistic excellence and empower our community by providing access to space, tools, training and capital.
Self Help Graphics’ vision is to be the pre-eminent center for Latino art in printmaking, exhibition and training, and to be a resource for young and emerging artists.
Spirituality and Creative Heart:
Acknowledge the experience of art as a spiritual form of expression that reflects our community’s sense of hope and soul, (in memory of Self Help Graphics’ founder, Sister Karen Boccalero).
Promote socially engaging art with a conscience in service to the Latino community and diverse audiences through artistic freedom and cultural affirmation.
Achieve the highest quality of operations with accountability and transparency through diligent, dedicated and equitable practices.
Build relationships across generations and communities by encouraging artistic expression through collaboration.
Continuously re-invent programming, creating new and resourceful ways of showcasing artists.
Serve as a gateway to experience and appreciate art, and to provide art at a reasonable value.
Self Help Graphics & Art emerged out of the inspiration and energies of a group of artists/printmakers working from an East Los Angeles garage. Known as Art, Inc. when they began working together in 1970, printmakers Sister Karen Boccalero, Carlos Bueno, Antonio Ibáñez, Frank Hernández, and others held their first exhibition at the El Mercado shopping center in 1971. Soon after, they relocated to Boyle Heights with a gift from the Order of the Sisters of St. Francis and by 1973 was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization known as Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG).
The evolution SHG’s focus on printmaking as its core discipline grew throughout the 1970s and by 1979 the programs became increasingly experimental, in the printmaking studio and in other media, including music and performance art. During the 1980s, SHG earned its reputation as a locus for the emerging Chicano and Latino artists and cultural movements. Sister Karen passed away in 1997 and facilities and financial management continued to impart the organization’s health during the twenty-first century. A significant revival has been in process since 2007, including a major relocation from the former facility on Cesar Chavez Avenue to a new location in Boyle Heights, adjacent to downtown Los Angeles.
In our remembrance is our resurrection, 1983