Community economic development project in the northeast Los Angeles community of El Sereno : the intersection of arts, culture, economics and politics

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Southern New Hampshire University
The project -- operated between the spring of 2008 and 2009 -- was the creation of a working group composed of community stakeholders who sought to create a community economic development project expanding upon the programming offered by an autonomous community space called the Eastside Café. The long-term outcome was one of community ownership; the community space sought to purchase real estate to continue offering educational, cultural and health related programming. Primarily, the short-term outcome of this collaborative was to establish a social purpose silk-screening business to render jobs and build the capacity of the organization. The project was based El Sereno, a Latino community in Northeast Los Angeles that lacks locally controlled community spaces and gathering places that benefit residents. The lack of community control is due in part to social, economic and environmental inequalities faced by minority groups and lack of financial and business management skills. Major research strategies speak about the political context of minority communities, arts and culture, autonomy and social enterprise business development. Ultimately, this project became an investigation into the issues faced by independent community groups when faced with the need to acquire business development skills in order to realize autonomy and sustainability. (Author abstract)