USC Visions and Voices




L.A. Art and Culture

Being at USC means being part of one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting cultural landscapes: Los Angeles! Visions and Voices encourages students to explore L.A. and take advantage of the fantastic cultural opportunities available. To make your exploration easier, below you will find information on several websites filled with diverse cultural and art events in Los Angeles. We are also happy to share a few best bets—some of our favorite goings-on about town that are either free or low-cost. So check them out and find something fabulous to do in L.A.!


Calendar Live
CalendarLive.comProduced by the Los Angeles Times, this site pulls together cultural and entertainment news, reviews and events in the greater Los Angeles area. There are “critic’s choices” with recommendations for movies, theater, concerts and art exhibits, as well as reader reviews. Calendar Live also features restaurant listings and reviews.

Classical KUSC KUSC is the largest public classical radio station in the country, offering classical music and Southern California arts programming. In addition to listening to KUSC at 91.5 FM, the KUSC stream is available online. KUSC features performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Opera and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Performances produced by the USC Thornton School are highlighted on Thornton Center Stage Sunday evenings at 8:00 p.m., and Dean Rob Cutietta of the USC Thornton School answers listener questions on the "Ask the Dean" segment arts magazine Arts Alive (airing Saturdays at 8:00 a.m.). Also available online for on-demand listening or podcasts are interviews with Southern California arts leaders conducted by Gail Eichenthal, director of arts programming. 

Experience LA
ExperienceLA.comThe Experience LA website is compiled by a unique partnership of public and private sponsors and over 1,700 actively contributing arts and cultural organizations. With information on Los Angeles destinations and events including maps, itineraries and public transit, Experience LA is the only comprehensive compilation of cultural opportunities throughout Los Angeles county with information about how to use public transportation to get there.

LA as Subject
L.A. ConservancyL.A. as Subject is an association of cultural organizations, official archives and private collectors dedicated to preserving and improving access to the raw material of Los Angeles history. Aggregating news and event information from Southern California museums, libraries and other member institutions, the L.A. as Subject website is an excellent place to explore L.A.ís cultural offerings and discover the diverse stories of the cityís history.

Los Angeles Conservancy Website
L.A. ConservancyThe Los Angeles Conservancy, the largest membership-based local historic preservation organization in the country, is dedicated to the recognition, preservation and revitalization of the architectural and cultural heritage of greater Los Angeles. The LA Conservancy holds walking tours, usually on Saturdays, of interesting Los Angeles architectural landmarks and neighborhoods. Tours range from neighborhoods such as Little Tokyo, USC and Angelino Heights to thematic tours on art deco architecture or downtown’s skyline. The website also includes information on a self-guided walking tour of historic buildings in downtown Los Angeles, with a map and information about the buildings. Guided tours are $10 for the general public.

Best Bets—Goings-on about Town

ALOUD at Central LibraryALOUD at Central Library
Since the re-opening of Central Library in 1993, ALOUD at Central Library has presented over twelve seasons of programs with leading figures in the world of literature, art and ideas. These dynamic programs are designed to contribute to an informed, engaged and democratic community and to foster life-long learning in a welcoming environment. Past presenters include poets, novelists, scientists, educators, performing artists, environmentalists, journalists, political figures and filmmakers. A local scholar, critic or fellow-artist is frequently invited to engage the featured speakers in a public conversation. The issues addressed in the ALOUD series range from the topical to the enduring.

Brewery ArtwalkThe Brewery Artwalk
The Brewery Art Colony is the world’s largest art colony, encompassing 18 acres and 21 converted warehouses. Located at Moulton Avenue and Main Street, the artists and residents of the Brewery Art Colony open their doors twice a year for the Brewery Artwalk, a two-day event in the spring and fall.  

California African American Museum Events
California African American MuseumIn addition to powerful exhibitions, the California African American Museum (CAAM) located in Exposition Park across the street from USC, holds a variety of special events, including “Target Sundays.” Through the eyes and voices of traditional and contemporary artists, community leaders, cultural historians, activists and educators, this once-a-month Sunday cultural experience celebrates the diverse influences and achievements of art and culture from the African Diaspora. Admission to the California African American Museum is free.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the AngelesCathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Considered one of downtown’s latest crown jewels, this cathedral is reminiscent of the California missions featuring plazas, staircases and colonnades. It was designed by Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo. The cathedral features world renowned architecture and art, including bronze sculpture by Robert Graham and John Nava’s stunning tapestries. Free guided tours are available Monday through Friday at 1 p.m.

Chinatown Self-Guided Walking Tour
This walking tour takes visitors to a number of off beaten track points of cultural and historical interest, including a temple, the first modern ethnic shopping mall in America, the oldest bakery, ethnic bazaars, a five-tiered pagoda, and popular filming sites.  This area is considered the first modern American Chinatown, owned and planned from the ground up by Chinese.  In addition, Chinatown’s Business Improvement District provides a two and a half hour walking tour the first Saturday of every month for a small fee.  They can be reached at 213-680-0243.

El Pueblo or (213) 628-1274
Olvera StreetThere are free docent-led tours of the El Pueblo de los Angeles Historical Monument, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes 26 historic buildings, at 130 Paseo de la Plaza, Tuesday through Saturday, at 10 AM, 11 AM, and noon.  The tour includes visiting Olvera Street, a major “Mexican marketplace,” and touring the oldest building and church in Los Angeles.  For more information, contact the above number.

First Fridays at the Natural History Museum
Natural History MuseumOn the first Friday of each month, January through June, the Natural History Museum, located in Exposition Park across the street from USC, is open late for “First Fridays.” Designed to bring the museum’s exhibitions to life in a dynamic and thought-provoking manner, these evenings include discussions with leading thinkers on topics pertaining to our natural and cultural worlds, as well as access to the museum’s collections, video screenings and music. 

Free Night of Theater
Free Night of TheaterOrganized by Theatre Communications Group and the LA Stage Alliance, Free Night of Theater 2010 gives you the exclusive opportunity to sign up and get free tickets to performing arts events throughout Greater Los Angeles. Tickets to 103 performances at 30 theatres are available for Free Night Patrons throughout the month of October. Theatre companies participating in this event include Theatre @ Boston Court, Company of Angels, A Noise Within, The Antaeus Company and The Los Angeles Theatre Center. Don’t miss out on the chance to see some of the best small and large theatres in Los Angeles for free!  

Los Angeles Opera
Los Angeles OperaLA Opera is the fourth largest opera company in the country and stands out as a newly important force in American opera under the dynamic leadership of world renowned General Director Plácido Domingo. LA Opera provides highly acclaimed, fully staged operas in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. USC students can become members of LA Opera’s Opera U program for free at Opera U members receive regular e-mail offers for $20 student tickets, as well as occasional e-mail offers for free tickets and special events. 

Metro Art Tours
Metro Art ToursThe Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) has commissioned over 250 artists to incorporate art into a wide array of transportation projects throughout Los Angeles county. This MTA initiative has been praised as “one of the most imaginative public art programs in the country” by the New York Times. The Metro’s Docent Council offers free art tours to exhibit the broad range of art in the Metro Rail system and provides insights into the artworks and the artists who created them, as well as the communities they enhance. Tours are available the first Thursday and Saturday of every month. They are roundtrip and last approximately two hours.

Music Center Symphonian Tour
The Music CenterThis free tour, whose start times vary daily, takes visitors into portions of all four Music Center venues and includes architectural highlights, a historical overview of the Music Center and its resident companies, and a tour of the lobby of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  For a daily schedule, call 213-972-7483.

We want to hear from you. If you know about other free or low-cost art and cultural spaces and events in Los Angeles, tell us about it. Email us now!