Beyond Kendrick and Serena: New museum shows Compton’s legacy

Hosted by

The Compton Art & History Museum’s co-founders Abigail Lopez-Byrd and Marquell Byrd sit in front of a mural at the museum. Photo courtesy of Marquell Byrd.

There’s a new art museum in Los Angeles, and you won’t find it in Downtown LA, the Arts District, or other parts of the county where similar facilities are typically located. 

The Compton Art & History Museum opened the public this year, just months after its two founders, the husband and wife duo of Abigail Lopez-Byrd and Marquell Byrd, came together with a vision for the space. 

“We have archives from Compton from the 1960s and 1970s that the youth can now come in … and see these things … without having to go to neighboring cities or somewhere deep in LA that, most of the time, don't represent who they are and where they come from,” says Co-founder Marquell Byrd. 

The museum is an offshoot of the couple's nonprofit Color Compton, which empowers young people and students in Compton and South LA through art and history. 

Byrd says he helped construct the museum by hand because he wanted to make sure their vision actually became a reality.

“We know that we had to make sure that there's a space like this because we don't have access [to many resources]. We don't have a Michaels in Compton, so you can’t even get the art supplies for you to be able to create.”

The museum’s inaugural show is “Sons Like Me,” a multimedia exhibit with paintings, tapestries, floral arrangements, and other works by Compton artist Anthony Lee Pittman

The Compton Art & History Museum features several works from the inaugural exhibit “Sons Like Me” by Compton artist Anthony Lee Pittman. 

Byrd says Pittman’s work encapsulates the essence of what it’s like to be from Compton. 

“I think that also instills the empowerment of what we can do within the city,” says Byrd. “We have our Kendricks, we have our Serena Williams, we have so many amazing people that come from Compton, but you don't see them walking on the street every day. You do see someone like myself or Anthony Lee Pittman.” 

Byrd says his ultimate goal for the museum is to make it an important community fixture by transforming it into a full-fledged site with a coffee shop and more facilities. However, right now, the focus is for young people and students to have a place to experience art and history in their own neighborhood. 

The museum is located at 306 W Compton Blvd. It’s open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.




Tara Atrian