How the Wellness Revolution Just Arrived in the Art World


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A blue neon sign reading "You Belong Here" has become a new kind of beacon in Long Beach, California recently. The light sculpture by artist Tavares Strachan exists to welcome visitors to Compound, a soon-to-debut multidisciplinary space fusing wellness and contemporary art. But it also serves as a mission statement for what aims to be a new nexus of belonging for the community.

Housed in a freshly renovated, 15,000-square-foot Art Deco building in the city's Zaferia neighborhood, Compound is about as prototypically SoCal as a venture could be. On one hand, the space will feature contemporary-art commissions, a sculpture garden, and an exhibition program partly drawn from the collection of its founder, cultural philanthropist and Scripps media heir Megan Tagliaferri. But Compound will also team those elements with a farm-to-table restaurant and an ambitious events program encompassing outdoor yoga, meditation sessions, healing workshops, live-music performances, and more—all of it free to the public.

On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Compound's curator and artistic director, the LA art juggernaut Lauri Firstenberg, calls in from the West Coast to discuss the venture's ethos, the surprising synergy between the wellness movement and rigorous artistic practice, and the role Compound hopes to play in a near future wracked by crises large and small.

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