ART + PRACTICE IS PRESENTING “The Beautyful Ones,” Njideka Akunyili Crosby‘s first exhibition in Los Angeles. Awarded the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s 2014 James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize, Nigerian-born Akunyili Crosby lives and works in Los Angeles. Curated by the Hammer Museum, the exhibition features a new body of work that “explores intimacy and interiority in her depictions of domestic life.”

On view Sept. 12-Nov. 21, the show is an example of the nonprofit’s ambitious exhibition program, but represents only a part of its mission.

Co-founded last year by artist Mark Bradford, philanthropist and collector Eileen Harris Norton, and social activist Allan DiCastro, Art + Practice (A+P) “encourages education and culture by providing life-skills training for foster youth in the 90008 ZIP code as well as free, museum-curated art exhibitions and moderated art lectures to the community of Leimert Park.”

EsoWon Bookstore, a longstanding black-owned business in the neighborhood, has joined the organization, relocating to A+P’s site, offering a curated selection of art tomes in addition to its wider selection of books, and directing A+P’s lecture series. There is also an artist-in-residence program.

Art + Practice is seeking to enrich the neighborhood and change lives with a focus on the community’s foster youth.

Art + Practice is seeking to enrich the neighborhood and change lives with a focus on the community’s foster youth.

In California, there are more than 55,000 youth in foster care, the largest foster care population in the nation, according to A+P. An untold number of youth transition out of foster care without the resources for higher education and the skills for employment, leaving them susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder and vulnerable to homelessness and incarceration.

Bradford has responded to what he calls a crisis in the foster care system by partnering with the The RightWay Foundation, which serves current and emancipated foster youth. Together, the organizations are providing job training and mental health services to local youth in a creative and educational environment.

“They need jobs, places to live and then we can talk about everything else,” says Bradford.

“They need jobs, places to live and then we can talk about everything else,” says Bradford.

He further explains why he decided to take up the cause: “I feel like artists are outsiders for one reason or another and in many ways foster youth through no volition of their own are outsiders,” Bradford says. “So I thought well one outsider group to another, maybe we can create a platform, and maybe we can create a conversation.” CT