LOS ANGELES — When I visited The Underground Museum in the summer, I began my visit in the backyard garden. Purple is the color of warmer months in southern California when the jacaranda blooms, falls, and carpets the pavement. Purple is also the name of this patio garden, chosen by one of the museum’s founders who died last year, artist Noah Davis, and where sweet-smelling lavender and thyme, petunias, and wisteria creep and grow tall. Monumental, seashell-like sculptures by Lianne Barnes mingle among the plants. A nubby textile that co-founder Karon Davis brought was spread atop the surface of a picnic table, which was also strewn with board games available to play.
The Underground Museum (The UM) is a 501 c(3) dedicated to exhibiting museum-quality art to diverse communities for free. The UM upholds the belief that art is an essential part of a vibrant, just, and healthy society. The UM’s role as a cultural hub and urban oasis serves low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and cultivates the hope that increasing access to art will inspire, educate, and transform lives. Through arts exhibitions, live events, film screenings, an outdoor garden for gathering, workshops, and a bookstore, The UM assures Arlington Heights and neighboring communities with access to resources and tools necessary for developing critical thought and creative responses to the issues that plague them and most urban low-income neighborhoods.