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Love My Neighbor is an art intervention and social action project conceptualized, developed and led by the known California artist Alexey Steele. It is originated in the City of Carson, California, where artist had his studio for fourteen years. The City of Carson is one of the most statistically diverse municipalities in the United States with all its cultural richness and social challenges. It is the turf of sixteen active gangs. The project was developed as an intercommunal unifying bridge-building and anti-hate initiative. It is centered on the artists live portrait series showcasing compelling images and stories of the beloved and inspiring diverse neighbors who serve as unique binders of local community and, whom artist believes, are the true everyday heroes of our society.
The project is ongoing with the broad community based collaborations, central among them The City of Carson, Carson Sheriff’s Station Gang Diversion Team, Bank of America Community Outreach Better Money Habits Program, Culver City, Artward Initiative non profit, Bank of America Foundation, Los Angeles County La vs Hate program.
The City of Carson, California
Based on his artistic outreach to the community since 2005 the project was launched by the artist in 2015 in collaboration with The City of Carson Human Services with the grant from The City of Carson Cultural Arts Commission.
From 2016 Alexey made the focus of his project the notoriously difficult, chronically underserved and historically marginalized Carson neighborhood called “Scottsdale.”
Carson Sheriff’s Station Gang Diversion Team
The nationally recognized Carson Sheriff Stations’ Gang Diversion Team (GDT) is a long standing partner in the Love y Neighbor project in Carson. During the COVID-19 pandemic crisis we were able to engage and revitalize GDT by providing them with food relief packages and art supplies, flyers and instructions for their kids isolated in their homes.
Bank of America Community Outreach Better Money Habits Program
Expanding on opportunities Alexey Steele and Artward Initiative have developed a unique collaboration with the Bank of America’s volunteer team of community outreach Better Money Habits program. This collaboration resulted in launching Love My Neighbor Day – an outreach program to which all Scottsdale children were invited as difficult as it was to organize and manage, identifying kids with interest in art while Bank of America volunteer group provided free personal financial management advice to parents and older kids. It was further expanded as mobile kids art studio to city wide events and selected by the Bank of America to represent the company at Los Angeles iconic Taste of Soule celebration in 2018 and 2019.
Culver City, California
The project was expanded to Culver City as part of Steele’s three year Artist Laureate tenure there 2020 – 2022.
The artist was not slowed down by the pandemic and adopted his award-winning program with innovative distant live portrait sessions and live casts portrait sessions translating his pandemic experiences into a new body of work. He kept showcasing special neighbors through his art in a technology powered virtual sessions.
Los Angeles County LAvsHate Program
In 2022 as a result of his inner-city work in the City of Carson, Alexey Steele was offered and able to develop a unique opportunity to collaborate with newly established Los Angeles County program LA vs. Hate and established a joint collaboration with his flagship Love My Neighbor project, cross-messaging with LA vs. Hate, Love My Neighbor, and United Against Hate as Love My Neighbor – United Against Hate campaign. He also brought United Against Hate Week to Culver City as part of his Artist Laureate tenure.
Alexey have developed, organized and conducted a series of events for the United Against Hate Week, November 13 – November 19, in Culver City, the City of Carson and in the City of Long Beach.
“Carmelitos” Housing, Long Beach, California
The Love My Neighbor program is currently being expanded to “Carmelitos” community of Long Beach, the biggest housing complex of LA County. The demographics and challenges there are very similar to neighboring “Scottsdale” community of Carson and the experiences and methods which were developed there answering the needs of this community.
Artward Initiative None – Profit
Artward Initiative is a California based 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with extensive experience in developing and support of culturally engaged projects, art interventions and social action programs in underserved communities of color that promote cultural diversity and change the perception of the community through art. Its’ goal is to focus on art and culture as tool of community turn-around.