LOS ANGELES (March 22, 2019)— The Los Angeles Public Library is thrilled to announce the acquisition of the Brockman Gallery Archive, consisting of publishing announcements, press releases, photographs, exhibition announcements, articles, correspondence and other physical ephemera chronicling the twenty-year history of the seminal Leimert Park gallery, founded in 1967 by brothers Alonzo and Dale Davis, which promoted the Black Arts movement and up and coming local African American artists in Los Angeles through the ‘70s and ‘80s.
The Brockman Gallery served as both a gallery and artist-in-residence studio, and provided early exposure to many local artists who achieved national prominence, among them Betye Saar, David Hammons, Charles White and John Outterbridge. The Gallery offered internships to students, and commissioned public events in Leimert Park and surrounding Los Angeles. For Dale Davis, the Brockman Gallery was all about giving the local community a voice by showcasing African American and other underserved artists, representing the minority communities in Los Angeles. A major goal was to draw a young black person in the community walking by the Gallery in to see a reflection of him or herself in that creative space.
For Dale, the goal was to “build a multiethnic community with art as the tool.” As a former Secondary school instructor, access to the archive by students is foremost on his wish list, due to the “great needs of our youth in a system that has systematically deleted the visual arts curriculum from its offerings and requirements.” Ensuring that the work and legacy of the Brockman Gallery becomes part of the official record of the story of Los Angeles is very important to the Davis brothers. Dale Davis posits that “a lost history due to a lack of interest, ignorance, negligence, lack of resources, or any other reason can result in major losses to our shared cultural experience.” Through the lens of this archive, not only is this shared cultural experience recorded, but available and accessible to all through the Los Angeles Public Library for research and inspiration.
“The Brockman Gallery Archive represents a very important time in the history of the arts and the contributions of African Americans to art in Los Angeles and the nation,” said City Librarian, John F. Szabo. “It is an incredible addition to our Special Collections. We are committed to preserving and making discoverable the stories of all the communities we serve.” A recipient of the nation’s highest honor for library service—the National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Los Angeles Public Library serves the largest and most diverse urban population of any library in the nation. Its Central Library, 72 branch libraries, collection of more than 6 million books, state-of-the-art technology accessible at www.lapl.org, and more than 18,000 programs a year provide everyone with free and easy access to information and the opportunity for lifelong learning.