Latino Heritage Month Spotlight: Twin Artists Take Twinning to a New Level

Nothing can come “betwin” these two sisters.

This Latino Heritage Month, we are recognizing two talented sisters, Arielle and Zoe Hernandez. Born and raised in Compton California, the two recently graduated from Compton College with a passion for designing diverse characters and creating content that people of all backgrounds can relate to.

“Latino Heritage Month to me, is a really good way to show everyone that they matter to this world and that the Latin culture is very beautiful. We as people, are loved, and our culture is celebrated,” said Zoe Hernandez

Cut from the same cloth, with a passion for the arts and culture is just one of the many things these sisters have in common.

“Having a twin sister, who shares my interests is a very empowering thing because they always say two is better than one, and in this case, it really helps me. We share our ideas and develop our ideas together and I think that’s amazing,” said Zoe Hernandez.

As they continue to take the proper steps to advance their artistic careers, Zoe and Arielle have no intentions of slowing down any time soon. While they both earned associate degrees from Compton Community College with an emphasis in arts and humanities, the artists plan to transfer to a university together to major in arts or animation in Spring 2021. Recently, the twins received acceptance letters from the University of Southern California and Otis College of Art and Design. They plan to take the fall semester off to research and apply to more universities, especially those with character design programs.

The saying, “It takes a village” couldn’t be truer, as these ladies owe all their success to their strong support system.

“I just encourage them to follow their dreams, so to hear that they got accepted at USC—it brought me to tears. We have hopes, our fingers are crossed, and I know that their artistic creativity will take them to the top,” said their mother, Marina Hernandez.

As they branch out into the world of the unknown amidst a pandemic, the Hernandez twins are unsure what the future will bring. However, the sisters are extremely hopeful for whatever lies ahead, especially as they know they always have each other. And we know that Zoe and Arielle Hernandez are truly destined for greatness.

“People give Compton a negative connotation which I do not appreciate, because this college has offered me and my sister so many opportunities. I feel like if I didn’t go to this college, I would not be as enthusiastic as I am with my goals and my career. It was fate that I came here with my sister,” said Arielle Hernandez.



Lula Washington Dance Theatre Receives Grant to Reopen During COVID-19

We’re at the Lula Washington Dance Theatre to celebrate its reopening for safe outdoor classes for the community! The arts matter!

Posted by Mark Ridley-Thomas on Saturday, September 26, 2020

Due to COVID-19, participating in the arts the way we know it—especially performance arts—has completely changed. But as a powerful antidote for coping with the heightened stress of these turbulent times, it is when we need the arts most. Recently, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas provided a $150,000 grant to the Lula Washington Dance Theatre (LWDT) in the heart of Crenshaw so that classes, particularly those oriented towards youth, can resume safely under the circumstances of COVID-19.

Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors.

“This re-dedication and unveiling are built on the foundation off our decades of hard work, love, and investing in children and families. This is a place that dancers can freely express themselves all year-round as we continue to adjust to a new normal,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “I am proud to be a supporter of this organization and its new outdoor expansion. This dance company continues to be a beacon of light in this community. In addition to learning about dance, community members can become change agents for their families, for their communities, and for the County.”

Not only is the community dance theater now able to host outdoor classes year-round, it is also able to now provide free dance training for neighborhood children and “Community Moves” classes every Saturday for all those who want to partake in the expression and healing of dance.

“We were just understanding COVID and then the world erupted into protests over the killing of George Floyd. I wanted LWDT to be able to do something to help our community heal and express themselves safely. We knew that because of COVID we would have to do everything outside. This would mean permits, and big-ticket rentals that we just could not afford. This grant award enabled LWDT to purchase and own an outdoor stage and canopies, allowing us to program our parking lot for classes and performances year-round and into the future–using COVID metrics for physical distance, wearing masks and requiring folks to sign up and RSVP because space will still be limited,” Tamica Washington-Miller, Associate Director of the Lula Washington Dance Theatre.

“No one knows when we will be out of the COVID era. Being able to present and program in our parking lot is a life-line opportunity for us. This allows us to continue to provide access to the art of dance and a space for life affirming, creative expression, and cultural arts to our community”, said the dance theater’s Founder and Artistic Director Lula Washington.

“Supervisor Ridley Thomas has always been a supporter of the arts, and, of our organization,” added Lula Washington Dance Theatre Founding Executive Director, Erwin Washington. ‘This donation to us will benefit our community for years to come.”

Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors.

The ribbon cutting for the grand COVID-19 reopening of the community dance theater was a joyous occasion with music, dance, and singing—all in a socially-distanced, safe outdoor environment. The Washington family shared heartfelt remarks on what reopening the Lula Washington Dance Theatre means to their family and organization, and especially what this means for the youth in South Los Angeles. As a gesture of thanks, youth participating in the dance theater’s classes gifted Supervisor Ridley-Thomas with a plant to signify the growth that will be able to occur in the community by allowing community members to continue fostering empowerment and having an outlet for expression through dance.

Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors.

“Arts communicate justice, arts communicate peace, arts communicate the possibility for a better world. Everyone can speak and understand the language of the arts, and everyone can dance and appreciate its virtues,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

The arts matter. The arts heal. Thus, we are elated to welcome back Lula Washington Dance Theatre and its dancers so we can harness the power of art to overcome the multilayered crises we are presently faced with.

Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors.

The Lula Washington Contemporary Dance Foundation (LWCDF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 by Lula and Erwin Washington to provide a creative outlet for minority dance artists in South Los Angeles. The Foundation seeks to build bridges between people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds through its interrelated parts: the professional Dance Company (Lula Washington Dance Theatre), the Dance School, the Youth Dance Ensemble, and the Dance Studio. To reserve a space for their free classes on Saturday, please email

What an exciting day to join safely for this ribbon cutting for Lula Washington Dance Theatre!

Posted by Mark Ridley-Thomas on Saturday, September 26, 2020


SoLA Contemporary, Black Lives Matter Exhibit

(left to right) LA County Arts Commissioner Pamela Bright-Moon, LA County Arts Department Director Kristin Sakoda, LACMA Director Michael Govan, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks and LA County Arts Commissioner Eric Hanks at the SoLA Contemporary gallery exhibition.

COVID-19 has exposed societal and structural cracks and left many that fall between them more vulnerable and marginalized.  In response, across the nation, many have taken to the streets to protest the racialized deaths of African Americans at the hand of law enforcement and demand a more just and equitable society. Amid this moment, located at the intersection of Crenshaw and West Slauson in South Los Angeles, sits the SoLA Contemporary gallery. SoLA Contemporary just closed a recent exhibition of homemade signs collected from local protesters as an artistic and visual manifestation of the desire and call for change. Staged visually and audibly to evoke the dense cluster of crowds that have made the news, visitors are immersed in the exhibit as if they were present at a demonstration.

(left to right) California African American Museum Executive Director George Davis, Second District Arts Commissioner Hope Warschaw, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“Art offers solace, hope and inspiration, even more so during periods of complexity. This exhibit can play a critical role in creating solidarity despite social distancing during this period of challenge,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who visited the exhibit. “We know art is not only a catalyst for change, but also how we understand the world we live in and this exhibit reflects the moment we are in.”

Through the generosity of Second District Arts Commissioner Hope Warschaw,  and facilitated by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, the exhibition will be remounted at the California African American Museum (CAAM), not only to memorialize this point in the nation’s history, but to provide hope and inspiration to many.

“The California African American Museum is honored to receive this donation of protest art during this challenging time in our country’s history,” said California African American Museum Executive Director George Davis. “We thank Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas for his long support of CAAM.”

“I would say that every social movement also has a cultural movement. It is places like this where we get to see art and life reflected back on ourselves,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the LA County Department of Arts and Culture. “This is how we get to examine in a new way what might be around us every day.”

SoLA Contemporary is a nonprofit, artist-run organization that serves as a cornerstone for cultural and artistic innovation. Originally named South Bay Contemporary, the organization was founded by Peggy Sivert Zask in 2013 in Palos Verdes and then moved to San Pedro in 2015. In March 2017, it relocated to the Crenshaw district of South Los Angeles. Their goal is to advocate for change by empowering people from diverse backgrounds to take risks in their endeavors and to explore the intersection of art, culture, society and politics. SoLA Contemporary prides itself in being a safe and receptive space for anyone seeking to experience the power of contemporary art.

Grants Awarded to Advance Arts Education

The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture (Arts and Culture) has announced that grants totaling $811,600 will be awarded to 40 Los Angeles County school districts. The Advancement Grant Program is administered through the LA County Arts Education Collective, the countywide initiative dedicated to making the arts a core part of every child’s growth and development. Advancement Grants, underwritten by the Arts Ed Collective Funders Council, offer flexible funding to school districts, and are matched by school district funds. Leveraging public and private resources, they will invest more than $1.6M this year to expand access to instruction in dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts.

“We know that learning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, so as educators throughout Los Angeles County innovate their operations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an obligation to support customized learning initiatives that equip students with invaluable creative skills,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “The Advancement Grants will be used for initiatives designed by the school districts themselves, as they know how to best reach their communities and be attentive to gaps and inequities in resources.”

School districts use Advancement Grants to implement district-wide arts education in a range of ways: arts integration, professional development and resources for teachers, social emotional learning in the arts, arts classes, and musical instrument purchases for at-home instruction. To address data showing disparities in access to the arts, Advancement Grants promote equity with priority points for school districts serving large student populations of 10,000 or greater, and those with an Unduplicated Pupil Count of 71% or greater which includes students eligible for Free and Reduced Priced Meals, foster youth, and English language learners.

The mission of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture is to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout Los Angeles County. It provides leadership, services, and support in areas including grants and technical assistance for nonprofit organizations, countywide arts education initiatives, commissioning and care for civic art collections, research and evaluation, pathways to the creative economy, professional development, free community programs, and cross-sector creative strategies that address civic issues. For more information, visit

The LA County Arts Education Collective is the countywide initiative dedicated to making the arts a core part of every child’s growth and development. Starting with just one school district in each Supervisorial District nearly two decades ago, the Arts Ed Collective now includes a robust coalition of partners that represents more than 72 school districts, 5 charter school networks and hundreds of community-based arts organizations, teaching artists, educators, philanthropists, and advocates. The initiative is coordinated by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture, is supported by curriculum and instructional services provided by the LA County Office of Education, and is guided by a Leadership Council and an active Funders Council who continue to invest in this formidable movement for arts education across Los Angeles County. It is recognized as a national model of collective impact in arts education. For more information and a list of philanthropic funders, visit

“We are proud to provide Advancement Grants with an eye toward increasing equity and access in arts education for the benefit of our County youth,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director of Arts and Culture. “In this unprecedented time, the human connection, educational engagement, wellbeing, and creative expression that the arts provide is more important than ever. We are deeply grateful for our school district, philanthropy, and County partners as we collectively work to ensure opportunities for students to create and thrive.”

Drive-In Movie Nights

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is hosting Drive-In at the Park, a series of FREE movie nights kicking off with a sold out screening of Cool Runnings at Exposition Park on September 5, 2020.  Register now for upcoming screenings here:

Complimentary sliders, candy and popcorn will be provided.

Space is Limited so select your date and RSVP! One ticket per vehicle and walk ups are not permitted.

Presented by Supervisor Mark Ridley – Thomas, Chevrolet and OZO.

All events are curated in an infrastructure of socially distanced culture to keep our guests and community safe and healthy.


SOLD OUT: September 5 – Cool Runnings
Exposition Park
3998 Hoover St, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Green Parking Lot

SOLD OUT: September 26 – Sister Act
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall
4020 Marlton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90008
(Cinemark Theatre upper parking deck)

October 2 – Remember The Titans
Kenneth Hahn Park

October 3 – Moana
Magic Johnson Park

905 E El Segundo Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90059


For the Health and Safety of our customers and employees we kindly ask you to follow the following Covid-19 guidelines while attending Movies in the Park.

  • Vehicles must be parked 6 feet from each other.
  • You must view the movie from inside your vehicle.
  • When outside your vehicle you must wear a mask
  • When outside your vehicle you must practice social distancing of 6 feet.
  • Restrooms will run at 50% capacity.
  • We want to thank you for following these guidelines and allowing Movies in the Park to operate. If you do not follow the guidelines you will be asked to leave without refund.

Register here: