February 2020: Los Angeles Culture Challenge

February offers many opportunities to discover and explore the richness of Los Angeles. Especially plentiful this month are Lunar New Year celebrations and events celebrating and honoring African American history.

For Scandinavian enthusiasts, this month features the annual Nordic Spirit Symposium, a unique lecture and performance program presented by the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation and California Lutheran University. The symposium will take place Friday, February 7, and Saturday, February 8, in Thousand Oaks. This year’s topic is Magic, Creatures and Legends: A Journey into Nordic Folklore. For more details on the program and to check registration availability, visit their website.

How will you explore the richness of Los Angeles this month?

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 1 & 2 *

Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/1, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This walking tour is offered in conjunction with the Chinese New Year Festival (12:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.) and Golden Dragon Parade (1:00 p.m.). Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more! The 1 1/2 hour walking tour will take visitors to a number of off-the-beaten-track points of interest and will guide those interested in shopping to some of Chinatown’s best bargains and its trendiest shops. Be prepared to wind your way through a myriad of alleyways, plaza stalls, and classical courtyards to discover the charm of LA’s Chinatown.

Chinese New Year Festival, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/1, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. There will be artisan booths featuring calligraphy, clay sculpture, dough sculpture, face painting, and magic; arts and craft workshops; main stage entertainment (see schedule); a craft and vintage market; gourmet food trucks; a culinary corner; photo booth with vintage cutouts circa 1940; and a free screening of the movie Ratatouille (6:00 p.m.).

121st Annual Golden Dragon Parade, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/1, 1:00 p.m. The Golden Dragon Parade is the oldest celebration of its kind in America. With over thousands of individuals lining the parade route and thousands viewing the telecast each year, this colorful celebration along North Broadway in Chinatown has become the premiere cultural event in the Southern California Asian-American Community. The parade includes almost two dozen floats, multiple marching bands, government officials, various dignitaries, entertainers, local business leaders, and cultural groups.

African Mask Workshop (Kids, Teens & Families Programs), California African American Museum (CAAM), Exposition Park, Saturday, 2/1, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Sculptor Beulah Woodard had a lifelong interest in African culture and in 1935 was inspired to produce the sculpture Mask, on view in LA Blacksmith. Make your own small mask in soft copper. Ages 6 and up. Visit website to RSVP.

China: Year of the Rat – Print-Making (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/2, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

Asian Lunar New Year Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 2/2, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Celebrate the Year of the Rat with dance, music and art from China, Vietnam and Korea. Dragon and lion dances by JC Culture will welcome in the new year. Enjoy a sample egg roll while creating paper lanterns and art scroll projects as you contemplate the diligence and positivity of those born in the Year of the Rat.

The Art of Julie Mehretu (Andell Family Sundays), Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 2/2, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays! Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30 pm. This weekly family event features artist-led workshops and friendly gallery tours and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. This month, be inspired by Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu’s large works of art and her artistic process of layering maps, architecture, historical imagery, and drawing. Make art inspired by the exhibition in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 8 & 9 *

21st Annual Nordic Spirit Symposium: Magic, Creatures and Legends: A Journey into Nordic Folklore, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Friday, 2/7, & Saturday, 2/8. The Nordic Spirit Symposium will host prominent scholars in the topic’s field who will bring the latest insights into Magic, Creatures and Legends through story, analysis, painting, and song. For details on the program and to register, visit website.

Red Envelope Show, Chinese American Museum, Downtown LA, February 5 – March 29. Exchanging red envelopes is a beloved tradition in many Asian and Asian American communities. The color red symbolizes good luck and prosperity. During Lunar New Year, these envelopes are often handed out to provide good luck. From whimsical to elegant, red envelopes often bear designs that represent auspice and special occasions. Red Envelope Show takes a fresh look at this ephemeral art, which features hundreds of red envelopes decorated with original artwork by over 250 contemporary artists from across the country.

USA: Valentine’s Day – Nikki de Saint Phalle Inspired Sculpture (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/9, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

The Art of Julie Mehretu (Andell Family Sundays), Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 2/9, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays! Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30 pm. This weekly family event features artist-led workshops and friendly gallery tours and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. This month, be inspired by Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu’s large works of art and her artistic process of layering maps, architecture, historical imagery, and drawing. Make art inspired by the exhibition in artist-led workshops.

Fowler Families: Stories and Self-Portraits, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 2/9, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. What would you like to tell the world? During this imaginative, hands-on art workshop, children of all ages are invited to answer this question while making self-portraits infused with their own creative writing. This program is inspired by the special exhibition Through Positive Eyes that features photography, video, sculpture, and live storytelling aimed at conveying the personal experiences of participants living with HIV and AIDS around the world.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 15 & 16 *

Pan African Film + Arts Festival, Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Thursday, 2/11, through Monday, 2/23. Experience the largest Black film festival in America. From a $100 million blockbuster premiere to newly emerging Hollywood talent, the Pan African Film + Arts Festival (PAFF) showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works from all over the globe, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes. Special programs include StudentFest, Saturday Children’s Festival, SpokenWord Fest, LOL Comedy, PAFF Fashion Show, and more.

Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/15, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This walking tour is offered in conjunction with the Firecracker Festival. Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more! The 1 1/2 hour walking tour will take visitors to a number of off-the-beaten-track points of interest and will guide those interested in shopping to some of Chinatown’s best bargains and its trendiest shops. Be prepared to wind your way through a myriad of alleyways, plaza stalls, and classical courtyards to discover the charm of LA’s Chinatown.

Firecracker Festival, Main Stage in Central Plaza, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/15 & Sunday, 2/16. The Firecracker Festiva is a free festival that celebrates the cultural diversity and talent of Los Angeles over the course of two days. The festival also includes a 5/10K Run/Walk as well as a Bike Ride, Kiddie Run, and PAW’er Dog Walk. All net proceeds are reinvested locally.

India: Gonda Art – Painting (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/16, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

The Art of Julie Mehretu (Andell Family Sundays), Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 2/16, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays! Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30 pm. This weekly family event features artist-led workshops and friendly gallery tours and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. This month, be inspired by Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu’s large works of art and her artistic process of layering maps, architecture, historical imagery, and drawing. Make art inspired by the exhibition in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 22 & 23 *

31st Annual Mardi Gras Celebration, The Original Farmers Market, 3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles, Saturday, 2/22, & Sunday, 2/23. L.A.’s favorite Mardi Gras celebration features Cajun and Zydeco bands galore, down home Southern cookin’, the Mutti Gras Pet Parade, bead throwing and much more.

African-American Festival, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Saturday, 2/22, & Sunday, 2/23. Join the Aquarium of the Pacific as it hosts its 18th annual African-American Festival, celebrating the rich diversity of African-American and African cultures. The festival will feature live entertainment and arts and crafts. Festival performers include Mardi Gras second line dancers, hip hop and break dancers, jazz musicians, interactive drum circles, West African dancers, and storytellers.

CicLAvia – South LA, Sunday, 2/23, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Join CicLAvia as they open up the streets in South LA for a 6-mile route connecting South Central, Florence-Firestone and Watts. Bike, skate, run, walk, skateboard, and enjoy the route however you want. People of all ages and abilities are welcome!

Nigeria: Clay Masks (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/23, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

The Art of Julie Mehretu (Andell Family Sundays), Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 2/23, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays! Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30 pm. This weekly family event features artist-led workshops and friendly gallery tours and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. This month, be inspired by Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu’s large works of art and her artistic process of layering maps, architecture, historical imagery, and drawing. Make art inspired by the exhibition in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 29 & MARCH 1 *

Hinamatsuri Workshop: Kokeshi Doll Art with Mari Inukai, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/29, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. In celebration of Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Day), paint your own prince and princess kokeshi doll set with artist Mari Inukai. Bring pictures of your favorite flowers and textile samples as reference material to paint your doll’s kimono. All generations welcome! Visit website for details and to RSVP.

Feel free to add events for the current month in the comments below. If you have suggestions about future events and celebrations to include in upcoming months, please email the details. Thank you!

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