The VPAM Foundation expresses our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who attended the 2023 Illuminator’s Gala. We appreciate your support of the Vincent Price Art Museum and look forward to seeing you at the next Gala!

A Summer Soiree: The Illuminators Gala
About The GalaDinner Program (SOLD OUT!) Soiree ProgramSilent Auction

Dinner Program (SOLD OUT!)

6:00PM - 8:30PM - 2nd Floor

Reception starts at 6:00PM with beer, wine, and other beverages served by Chicas on the Rocks. Guests can view our 2023 silent auction, and place their bids online through Artsy throughout the night. Dinner will begin at 7:00PM with a menu curated by NikuX Executive Chef, Shin Thompson, and served by the NikuX team. Guests will also enjoy live performances by dancer, Julia Chavez, and Grammy Award winning musicians Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores, with emerging musician Sandino Gonzalez-Flores. This year, VPAMF will present Cultural Illuminator awards to Betty Avila, Assemblymember Mike Fong, Charlie James Gallery (accepted by Charlie James and Ever Velasquez) and Giant Robot (accepted by Eric Nakamura), honoring their contributions to arts and culture. After the formal program, guests can stay for additional celebrations and live performances at the after-dinner Soiree.

Recommended Attire: Summer Cocktail

➤ Purchase Tickets
➤ Learn About the Silent Auction (Opens July 18)
➤ Make a Donation

100% of funds raised from the Illuminator’s Gala will go to support VPAM’s operations and programs.
To learn more about sponsorship options please call 323-265-8841 or email with subject line GALA SPONSOR.

Dinner Menu by
NikuX | Contemporary Yakiniku in Los Angeles
Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles at The Wilshire Grand Center, NIKU X takes a contemporary approach to traditional Japanese cuisine with global influences. NIKU X offers beautiful tasting menus highlighting wagyu from all around the world and rare seafood combinations. It boasts a full bar and opulent ambiance. Allow Michelin-starred Chef, Shin Thompson, and his team to display their masteries in Yakiniku and hospitality to take you on the exploration of wagyu where you will embrace the infinite possibilities of Niku X's creations.

Paired with Bordeaux wines from VINTEX

Vintex Logo Photos of dishes from Nikux

Dinner Performances By

Julia Chavez

Julia Chavez, ELAC Theater Department

Julia Chavez is a free-spirited Chicana actress, artist, and dancer who was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been performing in theatre, dance, and music showcases since 2013 and is now studying Theatre with an Acting Emphasis at East Los Angeles College. She was recently awarded a 2023 Musical Theatre Initiative Dance Finalist at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Her next show coming up is “FAITH” by Evelina Fernandez directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela where she is playing the lead, Faith, and will be singing, dancing, and acting. Faith opens up on October 13 and showcases through 10/22. Julia also has a passion for fashion and has a Latina owned sustainable clothing brand that you can find on Instagram @ jewlz.gemz.

ELAC Dance Department

The Gonzalez-Flores Trio

The Gonzalez-Flores Trio is an invitation to what you might hear on any given night in the Gonzalez-Flores home. Whether it's a jam, or an arranged composition Martha Gonzalez, Quetzal Flores, and Sandino Gonzalez-Flores explore and play together as a family often as a form of affection. They play to connect with each other, and remind themselves of the great many things life has to offer, regardless of the restless world around them.

Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores have been instrumental in catalyzing the transnational dialogue between Chican@s/Latin@ communities in the U.S and Jarocho communities in Veracruz, Mexico. Their collaboration through the Grammy Award winning (2013), East LA Chican@ rock group Quetzal, has made considerable impact in the Los Angeles Chicano music scene. The relevance of Quetzal’s music and lyrics have been noted in a range of publications, from dissertations to scholarly books.

Martha Gonzalez is a Chicana artivista (artist/activist) musician, feminist music theorist and Associate Professor in the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o Latina/o Studies at Scripps/Claremont College. Her academic interests have been fueled by her performance background and musicianship as a singer/songwriter and percussionist for Quetzal. Gonzalez is a Fulbright Scholar (2007-2008), Ford Fellow (2012-2013), Woodrow Wilson Fellow (2016-2017) and most recently, a MacArthur Fellow (2022).

With over twenty years of experience in arts practices in community settings Quetzal Flores’ work is rooted in artivism, and engaging the proactive imagination of communities in struggle. Flores is the founder and musical director of Quetzal. He co-founded the Seattle Fandango Project and FandangObon. He also co-founded the Community Power Collective in 2020, and sits on the Advisory Board for the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory. Flores currently serves as the Southern CA Program Manager for the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA)

Sandino Gonzalez-Flores was born into a musical family. A young queer Chicanx being, they/he is a multi-instrumentalist composer and singer. Besides his musical upbringing Sandino studied music at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (2023) where he earned his High School diploma. Sandino is already showing signs of greatness as he earned a Merit scholarship at the Interlochen Summer Music Camp and won a Fine Arts Award for Vocal Performance in 2022. Despite his young age he has performed on prestigious stages all over the US and Mexico including, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, UCLA Royce Hall, The Cheech Center for Chicano Art and Culture and the Getty. Sandino is currently working on a solo album and is majoring in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Cultural Illuminator Honorees

Betty Avila

Betty Avila
Arts Administrator and Cultural Producer

Betty Avila (she/her) grew up in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Cypress Park. Her work lies at the intersection of the arts and social justice, with a particular focus on community building, public space, and youth empowerment Betty held positions with the Getty Research Institute, The Music Center, and the Levitt Pavilion, before becoming the Executive Director of Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) in 2015, an organization with a 48-year, nationally recognized legacy of empowering Chicana/o and Latinx communities of Los Angeles through the arts. Under Betty’s leadership SHG acquired a permanent headquarters for its operations in 2018, and paid off the building’s mortgage in 2022, ensuring SHG’s permanence on the Eastside of Los Angeles for future generations. Betty is a passionate arts advocate who centers equity and justice. She is the Chair of the Latinx Arts Alliance, a collective of 5 Latinx focused arts organizations: Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG), Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM), Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), and La Plaza de Cultura y Artes who advocate for greater Latinx representation in arts and culture in Los Angeles and beyond.She sat on the inaugural Advisory Committee for Los Angeles County's Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative as an appointee of Supervisor Hilda Solis, and also sits on the boards of Little Tokyo Service Center, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and People for Mobility Justice, of which she is a founding board member.

Mike Fong

Mike Fong
Assemblymember, 49th District of the California State Assembly

Mike Fong was elected to the 49th District of the California State Assembly in February 2022, representing Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, South Pasadena, Temple City, as well as the unincorporated areas of South San Gabriel, North El Monte, and East Pasadena. In the Assembly, Mike serves on the Appropriations; Banking and Finance; Privacy and Consumer Protection; Rules; and Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media Committees. His priorities include expanding access to quality higher education, healthcare, protecting the environment, ensuring public safety, creating jobs, and addressing homelessness. As a former Trustee of the Los Angeles Community College District, he advocated for policies that increased student success, improved educational access and quality, and expanded workforce education and training programs throughout the District. Last year, he helped secure $1,000,000 in state funding, that will enable VPAM and ELAC to expand the Museum Studies Certificate Program to all nine colleges of the LACCD and to produce a complete inventory and digitization of the museum’s 9000-piece permanent collection,making it more accessible and available to ELAC’s students, other post secondary institutions, K-12 schools, as well as the general public.

Charlie James Gallery

Charlie James Gallery
accepted by Charlie James and Ever Valasquez

For more than fifteen years, Charlie James Gallery has championed the work of visionary artists who engage with significant artistic, cultural, and political concerns. Founded in 2008 in Chinatown, Los Angeles, and currently operating two spaces on Chung King Road, Charlie James Gallery has made a name for itself supporting emerging and mid-career artists from Los Angeles, many of whom are from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds in the arts. In addition to presenting several solo and group exhibitions annually, the Gallery is recognized for its success in placing works by its artists in leading national museum collections, including The Broad, Hammer Museum, LACMA, MoCA LA, MFA Boston, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Walker Art Center, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. The Gallery is led by Charlie James, Founder/Director, and Ever Velasquez, Gallery Manager.

Artist represented by Charlie James Gallery include: John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres, Nancy Buchanan, Luke Butler, Danie Cansino, Patrisse Cullors, Jay Lynn Gomez, Glenn Hardy, Jr., Lucia Hierro, Nery Gabriel Lemus, Manuel López, Narsiso Martinez, Patrick Martinez, noé olivas, William Powhida, Lee Quiñones, Kristopher Raos, Erika Rothenberg, and Shizu Saldamando.

Giant Robot

Giant Robot
accepted by Eric Nakamura

Eric Nakamura co-founded Giant Robot (GR) magazine in 1994, and grew the enterprise out of his garage. The publication began as a stapled and photocopied zine that quickly became a magnet for Asian American creatives who contributed to its pages. Over the 16 years of its publication, GR celebrated Asian and Asian American culture and identity by highlighting often overlooked or underrepresented Asian American artists, writers, musicians (especially punk and indie bands), and designers. Through the 1990’s and 2000’s GR helped foster a pan-Asian American identity and community of artists, creatives, and enthusiasts. The magazine and subsequent GR stores and galleries brought people together through history, music, art, films, literature, toys, apparel, and food. At its peak, GR had two stores and a restaurant on Sawtelle Blvd. in West LA's Japantown; one in LA's Silver Lake; San Francisco; and New York. The GR Galleries have presented over 300 exhibitions to date, heavily showcasing Asian American artists and illustrators, with many given their first public exhibitions. GR has played a crucial role in providing representation for Asian Americans, notably in pop culture and the arts. In 2007, Giant Robot celebrated 50 issues with an exhibition: The Giant Robot Biennale, showcasing 10 artists over three floors of the Japanese American National Museum. Most recently, in 2022, GR was showcased in the exhibition Moments in Asian American Art and Activism 1968-2022 at Oxy Arts. Currently, Nakamura works in and owns the Giant Robot store and GR2 Gallery in Los Angeles,­­ which continues to offer pop culture goods and organize art exhibitions. Giant Robot continues to provide a forum for Asian Americans to tell their own stories and share their experiences, challenging dominant narratives and fostering a nuanced understanding of Asian American culture as a growing part of mainstream culture in the United States.