The Main To Make Museum Offerings Bilingual

For Immediate Release Thursday, August 17, 2017

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Museum will present materials, exhibition information, and programming in both English and Spanish to better serve Los Angeles and expand accessibility to its community

The Main Museum, images by Elon Schoenholz

The Main Museum, images by Elon Schoenholz

LOS ANGELES – The Main Museum in Downtown Los Angeles today announced that it will begin to present museum offerings in both English and Spanish. Spanning everything from staffing to programming to in-gallery and online materials, The Main’s bilingual programming aims to make the museum as accessible and welcoming as possible to the Los Angeles community. The bilingual offerings will launch this September with a program presented in English and Spanish at Beta Main, the test site for The Main Museum.

“As a new institution focused on engaging the public with Los Angeles art and artists, it is vital that we recognize who our L.A. audience is and how to best engage all visitors and potential visitors to the museum, whether on-site, online, or anywhere we meet,” said Allison Agsten, director of The Main. “With nearly half of L.A. identifying as Hispanic or Latino1 and more than half speaking a language other than English at home,2 it is essential that museums understand and address the benefits of having such diverse populations to consider.”

Walk-in visitors from the Downtown L.A. neighborhood and surrounding areas have been the majority of Beta Main’s guests since its opening in October 2016. Studies show that having bilingual interpretative materials at museums has profound emotional effects on Spanish-speaking and Spanish-dominant visitors. Visitors say that when bilingual programming is available, they enjoy the visit more, feel more valued by the museum, and feel more comfortable during their visit.3 The Main’s multilingual initiative will begin with Spanish, with additional languages to be introduced in the future.

The Main will roll out the initiative in phases over the coming year. On September 20, The Main will launch its bilingual programming with an evening of poetry, music, and zines that celebrate Los Angeles’s Chicana community. Alma Rosa, founder of Frijolera Press, brings together local poets and musicians from the Vinyl Frontier Crew, a vinyl collective who will be spinning funk, oldies, and cumbias throughout the night. The Main’s previously announced fall exhibition Office Hours and its In Focus counterpart will be the museum’s first bilingual exhibitions. The museum is currently working to translate all on-site and online communications and develop additional programming, with the goal of being fully bilingual on-site and online by the end of 2018.

“Our goal is to make being bilingual part of the fabric of The Main from the beginning,” said Agsten. “In the experimental spirit of Beta Main, we wanted to launch the initiative as soon as possible so that we are able to learn, test, and grow with it as we move toward the launch of the full museum over the next few years.”

1“QuickFacts: Los Angeles City, California,” U.S. Census Bureau, accessed August 8, 2017,

2“For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 3, 2015: Census Bureau Reports at Least 350 Languages Spoken in U.S. Homes,” U.S. Census Bureau, accessed August 8, 2017,

3 Steve Yalowitz, Cecilia Garibay, Nan Renner, and Carlos Plaza, Bilingual Exhibit Research Initiative: Institutional and Intergenerational Experiences with Bilingual Exhibitions, September 2013, accessed August 8, 2017,


Alma Rosa is a Chicana writer, spoken word poet, and zine maker who resides in Los Angeles. She is the founder of Frijolera Press, a d.i.y. Chicana zine press. She is the creator of Tranquila Zine and Love in the Time of Trump. She is currently working on a new collection of stories titled Feathered Serpent: The Raven and The POEtry.


The Main Museum's mission is to engage the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Los Angeles. With a residency program at its center rather than a collection, The Main forefronts artists in its work and supports wide-ranging practices from artists at all stages in their careers.

When complete, The Main will include a variety of exhibition galleries, additional studio spaces for its artist residency program, a rooftop plaza including an amphitheater and cafe, and a restaurant. For more information on The Main and to sign up for updates, visit


True to its name, Beta Main is a space for testing and learning in anticipation of the creation of The Main. Throughout all phases of The Main’s development, which includes exhibitions, artist residencies, and public programs mounted by Beta Main, the institution will continue to refine its vision and methods as it learns from the community, artists, experimentation, and Downtown Los Angeles.


Program | Poetas Potion: a night of poesía y palabra

Wednesday, September 20 | 7:30–9:30 p.m.

Location: Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013

Admission is free; no RSVP required

In conjunction with Beta Main’s current exhibition, Star Montana: I Dream of Los Angeles, join us for an evening of poetry, music, and zines that celebrate Los Angeles’s Chicana community.

Alma Rosa, founder of Frijolera Press, brings together local poets for a night of bilingual readings. Music will be provided by the Vinyl Frontier Crew, a local vinyl collective who will be spinning funk, oldies, and cumbias throughout the night. Zines and chapbooks from participating artists will be available for purchase. Participants to be announced closer to the program date.


Media Contact: Samantha Ayson,