Occidental College is raising its neighborhood profile with the opening an arts and retail complex on York Boulevard.
Occidental is one of Northeast L.A’s major institutions. But its location deep inside a residential neighborhood and away from major streets means it lacks a major visible presence.
Now, the Oxy Arts on York gives the liberal arts college a foothold on York Boulevard, which has become a destination with new restaurants, bars and shops.
College officials said that a portion of the building, part of which remains vacant, would be leased out to retail tenants.
“We want to invite the Northeast community to visit this beautiful new public space and work with us to bring the Northeast Los Angeles community, the Oxy community and local and regional artists together in socially conscious dialogue and engagement,” said Meldia Yesayan, Oxy Arts director, in a statement.
The 1920s building, which Occidental bought for $1.59 million in 2015, had in recent years been home to a liquor store, shops and artist studios. One of those studios was used by Debra Scacco, whose new exhibit, Compass Rose, will help launch the new arts center.
As part of grand opening events, there will be two more community open houses as well as an opening reception for the center’s first art exhibit, Compass Rose, and the launch of a series of summer-long puppet shows produced by the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, which is moving into a new space a few blocks east on York.