Los Angeles Snapshot
While it is crucial to explore the role of the African American community in Southern California during this period, it is important to note that there was a strong network of supporters and friends who stood behind these artists, some of whom were not black. During this period artistic collaboration and political activism crossed racial lines. In addition, Los Angeles–based artists were strongly connected to black artists across the state and the country. Artists from various ethnic backgrounds worked alongside the black artists featured in Now Dig This!, including Tyrus Wong, an Asian American who was a member of Eleven Associated, a co-op gallery founded by African American artists in the 1950s. Mark di Suvero, who was born in China to Italian parents, was another prominent artist working in California at this time. He and Melvin Edwards collaborated on the Artists' Tower of Protest (commonly known as the Peace Tower), an antiwar sculpture erected in 1966. Di Suvero also contributed to John Outterbridge's Containment Series by lending Outterbridge his power tools to craft the works. Academic institutions such as Chouinard Art Institute facilitated introductions between artists, including Ron Miyashiro and Daniel LaRue Johnson. Mexican American artists such as Andrew Zermeño were also creating activist works during this period. Outterbridge, who at the time was running the Compton Communicative Arts Academy, worked with Chicano artists such as Zermeño and associated alternative institutions such as the Mechicano Art Center.