Self Help Graphics & Art
Founded in 1973, Self Help Graphics & Arts (SHG) is the leading nonprofit visual arts center serving the predominantly Latino community of Los Angeles. SHG’s mission is to develp and nuture Latino artists in printmaking. SHG seeks to advance Latino art broadly through programming, exhibitions, and outreach to diverse audiences in East Los Angeles and beyond. SHG seeks to identify and engage young and emerging artists from the community in all aspects of its activities. SHG endeavors to accomplish its mission through a focused set of totally free programming, which otherwise might not be available.
SHG is the first organization in the country to create a free public celebration of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), celebrated every year on November 2, as is the tradition throughout Mexico. SHG’s Día de los Muertos celebration was initiated by the local community and artists in 1973, creating a link to the popular celebration in Mexico. SHG’s celebration is distinct to the East L.A. community and is the only artist-led celebration in the city. Celebrations include traditional arts and crafts such as papel picado (cut paper), papier mâché, mascaras (masks), altar making, and face painting. Every year, SHG’s main altar is created by master altar maker Ofelia Esparza and her daughter Rosanna Esparza Ahrens.
In 2013 and 2012, SHG received a grant from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program to support their Día de los Muertos celebration.