USC students and South LA residents unite with art


Wanting to satisfy artistic thirst and consume more of the local area’s taste, Michael Chang, a fine arts student, and Aaron Ashby, a cinema student, created Jukebox, a student-run art collective at USC that uses South L.A. for inspiration and presentation of their work.

“We came to USC as immigrants to this area,” said Chang. “We were transplanted here for college, and I think it’s important for students to understand the context of where we live.”

The University of Southern California seems a different world than the blocks just outside its borders. Due to stereotypes portrayed through media, many students feel that venturing out is unsafe. Several fail to realize, however, that South Los Angeles contains cultural gems and tasty eateries.

Ashby and Chang wandered in to Blu Elefant Café on Washington Blvd. near campus, and, after peering around the place, knew it’d be the perfect place to begin their work with Jukebox. The pair asked permission to make a film in the café, and Blu Elefant’s Ricardo Vasquez and Inri Aguilar were more than happy to help.

After finishing up the flick, however, the USC students and café owners weren’t quite ready to say goodbye. Ashby and Chang decided to host an art show at Blu Elefant, providing Trojans the perfect place to display their works and the café a chance to bring in more business.

Students and locals were shoulder to shoulder at January’s event.

“It was awesome,” said Laura Krstovska-Guerrero, one of the featured student artists. “I mean, we got the place packed and like it was really cool to see so many people coming out, you know, just to see our stuff.”

Jukebox remains busy with current and future plans. The group displayed and created art during Saturday’s KXSC festival on campus.

“That’s all we care about, just kind of showing more about this community than people would normally see, and just getting people excited about art,” said Ashby.

Jukebox’s next event is on April 25th at Mercado La Paloma. To learn more about the art collective, click here.

Contact Reporter Sarah Collins here. Follow her on Twitter here. Like Intersections on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and sign up for the Newsletter to stay in the loop on news and views from South L.A.

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