Beyond the big headlines, the city’s contemporary art scene is rooted in its diverse, community-centered art spaces.
By Jordan Karney Chaim October 13, 2022
Art Produce, another multifaceted, multi-use art and culture center, is an extension of artist and educator Lynn Susholtz’s public and community-based practice. Susholtz purchased and rehabbed the boarded-up North Park Produce Market in 1999 and it now serves as a cultural hub, where community members can gather and “envision what life in a rich cultural environment could look like,” Susholtz explained. The building houses gallery and studio spaces, community rooms, an art lab, its own offices, a retail tenant, and a sustainable garden. Anyone can apply to Art Produce’s artist residencies, propose an exhibition, or attend its free, all-ages, art making events and workshops. Resident artists and exhibitors are strongly encouraged to propose or develop projects that engage the local community.
When Susholtz moved to North Park 30 years ago, she got involved in neighborhood politics and encouraged other artists to do the same. Art Produce has continued to respond to the needs of artists and community members as the neighborhood changes, always with an emphasis on public engagement. Its gallery is entirely visible from the sidewalk, making exhibitions accessible without even entering the space. “I’m trying to present other opportunities for the neighborhood to engage in art and feel like it’s part of their daily lives,” Susholtz said. “Artists [have been] challenged to experiment with their work and to really learn what community engagement can be, and what it means to their practice and to their teaching.”