Thursday, July 18, 2024

Compound Long Beach—the art-meets-food-meets-music hub—leans into its nonprofit roots


Compound Long Beach is many, many things: Art exhibition space. Restaurant thanks to The Union. Community hub for everything from wellness seminars to mini-markets. But the thing that people should know first and foremost is that it’s a nonprofit—and with its foot firmly in the ground after a fairly uneven start, they are starting to shine with programming that makes it one of the most unique destinations in the city.

Compound Long Beach is many things—but first and foremost: a nonprofit

One of the main things about Compound Long Beach—beyond the media blitz that took place when they opened its restaurant space, The Union, headed by Chef Eugene Santiago—is that few people still know little of what, exactly, it is. Is it an art space? Yes. Is it a community center? Yeah. Is it a place to shop? Sure. Is it a restaurant? Yup, that also.

“We are a 501c3 nonprofit—we just want to make that the clearest point of all,” said Silissa Uriarte Smith of Compound Long Beach. “We have not just all kinds of programming but we’re here to bring art and food to folks that don’t get to experience it on certain levels. It’s really about connecting community with contemporary art and food.”

Bridging art and people should be in the mission of every city, as should connecting community and its foodways. It should be no shocker that founder Megan Tagliaferri consistently repeats why she chose Zaferia as the birthplace of her nonprofit concept. After all, she considered opening Compound Long Beach at Drake Park toward the eastern edge of the LA River. And while both Drake and Zaferia are underserved—Zaferia is one of the most food insecure neighborhoods in the city—it was ultimately the bourgeoning cultural scene in Zaferia that brought it all together.

There’s the surrounding design and architectural firms. The great coffee and solid food. The growing extension of Anaheim Street’s reach, be it Selva at one end or Los Reyes at the other. Zaferia, for Compound Long Beach, makes sense—and their extensive programming proves that.

Art components of Compound Long Beach’s summer programming

Clearly, art is the largest component of Compound Long Beach—and

“Art for All:

Chaos to Cosmos:” Inaugural exhibition on view through September 14, 2024

Chaos to Cosmos focuses on the works of artists addressing nature and beauty, working on the creation of visual systems, order and iconography to address the mysteries of the universe. It is often through the lens of art that enigmas and phenomena of the cosmos are explored. Our collaborating artists play with color, light, perception, mystery, movement, and material to approach universal ideas.

Kids’ Crafts every weekend at Union

The restaurant area of Compound Long Beach features a kids’ craft table every Saturday and Sunday during brunch service at Union. “Children of all ages get to unleash their inner artist as they create their own DIY masterpieces,” Silissa said. For July, the crafts will revolve around “all things Summer” while August will focus on “Back to School” concepts.

Communal components of Compound’s upcoming programming

Largely revolving around concepts of wellness and local economy, Compound Long Beach’s community-centric programs includes:

  • Soundbath Sundays: Explore breath work and the experience of soundbath with Sabrina Rollo on every Sunday in August (4, 11, 18, and 25).
  • Vintage Community Market: On July 13 from 11AM to 3PM, explore local crafters, creators, and merchants co-curated by Compound and Studio JJC. Get your free tickets here.
  • Wellness Community Market: Curated by Muse Apothecary, this wellness market will take place on Aug. 10 from 11AM to 3PM.

Compound Long Beach’s love of sound and music definitely includes concerts

Compound Sound—the music component of the nonprofit’s structure—is launching their first live music series come July 11 featuring East L.A.’s quartet that is Levitation Room. Tying perfectly to the idea of the cosmos exhibit inside, their music—touching on themes of life, love, society, and self-awareness—are seemingly intertwined with the ideals of Compound Long Beach. Local Long Beach artists DJ Lili Bird of Good Foot and Chapis will open for Levitation Room. Tickets are $15 and are for those 18 years of age or older.

Even better? This series will be a collaboration between Compound and Twelves Records, the stellar record shop that exudes Long Beach vibes on a level that hasn’t existed since Fingerprints moved from Belmont Shore to Downtown.

And yes, food at Compound goes beyond its restaurant

In the summer of 2023, Food Finders handed out 237 boxes of food to families that needed it most—and Compound Long Beach’s Food Equity program in partnership with Food Finders will continue yet again into this year.

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“The annual drive is aimed at supporting local Long Beach children and youth by being a nutritious and supportive resource to families city-wide,” Silissa said. “Throughout the summer Compound will proudly display the Food Finder Blue Bin for our supporters and visitors to donate much needed non-perishable canned and packaged food items, hygiene items and back to school supplies. Moving forward one of our goals is to creatively expand this partnership with Food Finders so that we can impact the lives
of families in our greater Long Beach community.”

Compound Long Beach is located at 1395 Coronado Ave.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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