Artist noé olivas, draws on his parents’ work ethic and his USC cohort’s encouragement to bring communities together in Inglewood

Noé Olivas, an artist and activist, photographed on his truck at the Crenshaw Dairy Mart. The CDM is an art and community space in Inglewood, Los Angeles. Olivas graduated from USC's Roski MFA program in 2019 and operates the CDM with other fellow Roski alumni. (Photo/Damon Casarez)

An Artist, a Community and a Well of Inspiration

About a mile east of the bright lights and modern design of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood sits an old convenience store that doesn’t seem like it’s in the same city as the eye-catching $5.5 billion arena, much less the same neighborhood. The building is relatively small, with a white exterior and awnings off either side. A faded red sign on a tall metal pole in front reads “Crenshaw Dairy Mart” as an asymmetrical yellow space-age arrow directs patrons to the store.

Though the sign still promises milk, ice cream, beer, wine or groceries, the place it advertises now provides different sustenance: art, community and connection. Founded by three graduates of the USC Roski School of Art and Design, the Crenshaw Dairy Mart artist collective and art gallery aims to bridge the divide between cultural work and advocacy.

To artist and co-founder noé olivas, the space is a vessel for his passion for labor rights and immigrant, working-class communities.

“A lot of my work is very much responding to where I come from, with my family immigrating here, but also where I’m living right now in South Central, and Crenshaw Dairy Mart being in Inglewood,” olivas says.

“It’s inspired by my daily drives, what I see on the street and the people I interact with, but mostly by my community and collective.”

Read noé’s Story