We Are Long Beach Art Project to Capture City’s Diversity Through Portraiture • Long Beach Post


Photos courtesy of Sal Flores.

This weekend, anyone who stops by Groundwork Fitness in downtown Long Beach between 11:00AM and 3:00PM can have their picture taken by a professional, for free. The two-day event, and a series of upcoming photo shoots, will culminate in a photography exhibit meant to showcase a celebration of the city’s diversity.

“We Are Long Beach is a large-scale art project that will culminate in a citywide photography show that will showcase portraits from all of our shoots,” said Sal Flores, the creative behind the project. “We plan on doing around 10 open shoots around the city throughout the year.”

We Are Long Beach. Stronger Together is Flores’ brainchild, a local artist and designer who recently orchestrated the installation of The Journey at Bikestation, a light-centric interactive art piece to be installed at Burning Man.


Flores was inspired by the current political climate, and after doing a couple open photo shoots celebrating Long Beach’s LGBT community, the idea to showcase the city’s “Diversity. Equality. Inclusion. Love.” as reads the event description, came to mind easily.

Over the next six months, the mission is to host photo shoots in every city district, with selected photos from each shoot to be exhibited over one weekend during Arts Month in October.


Photo from the I AM photo shoot in 2016.

“I loved the vision of the photo shoot and followed its progress,” said Nicolassa Galvez, who was brought on as an organizer by Flores after hosting one of his previous projects. “With the political climate permeating so much of our daily lives this photo shoot, and other community activations like this, are especially needed right now.”

Flores said he’s hoping that a couple hundred people show up, but that it’s too soon to tell what to expect as this will mark the first weekend of the project. Galvez iterated she hopes those who participate have fun, that friends, family, co-workers, bandmates, partners and singles, pets and their pet parent(s), roommates, art studiomates, you name it, are all invited.

“This isn’t a fashion show or a beauty contest,” Galvez said. “These photos are meant to showcase what makes each of us unique. I think most of us realize how diverse Long Beach is in so many ways beyond race and culture and sexual identity, but to actually capture our city celebrating this diversity is a very special opportunity.”


Photo from the I AM photo shoot in 2016.

The two-day photo shoot will take place on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12 from 11:00AM to 3:00PM at Groundwork Fitness. The event is free and open to the public. Photographer Sean Laughlin will be behind the lens.

“I am looking forward to celebrating my city and my community,” Flores said. “I am not a photographer myself, but I love portraits, people and diversity. And what better way to showcase it than by honoring the people that make our city.”

For more information, visit the Facebook event page here.

Groundwork Fitness is located at 333 Pine Avenue.

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