East of East

East of East: Mapping Community Narratives

A Project of the South El Monte Arts Posse

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East of East: Mapping Community Narratives in El Monte and South El Monte -

East of East is place making and public history project founded by the South El Monte Arst Posse, an arts collective based in South El Monte, California. In the last three years, “East of East” has worked with academics, community members, and local organizations to democratize knowledge production and archive building in three key aspects. First, we build reciprocal relationship between academics and residents by hosting public events that include presentations and talks, walk-in oral history sessions, writing workshops, and digitization of photographs. Second, we create multiple uses and homes for primary and secondary sources. We make primary sources, particularly oral histories, tangible for a larger public by producing and publishing accessible 3,000 word essays on our KCET Column, “East of East.” Third, we use the archive to transform the physical landscape. Through this work we have re-imagined the history of these two majority-minority cities and their place within the histories of Mexico, Los Angeles, California, and the American West.

East of East is the recipient of the Autry Museum and Western History Association's Public History Prize. Our manuscript, “East of East: A New Suburban History” was a finalist for the California Historical Society and Heyday’s annual California Book Award.

To date, "East of East," has received funding from East of East has received funding Los Angeles City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, National Performance Network, Columbia University’s History in Action (five times), Latino Americans: 500 Years of History and in-kind contributions from local community members and faculty, La Historia Society, Rio Hondo Community College, Columbia’s Oral History Office, UCLA’s Oral History Office and Public History Program, South El Monte High School, and the city of South El Monte and El Monte.

This website, which houses approximately twenty percent of our archive, is funded Columbia's History in Action Initiative and the Columbia Libraries. We encourage you to explore and learn more about the history, people, and place of South El Monte and El Monte. If you would like to share your story, please email SEMAP at semartsposse@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter