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Arthur Kunkin / Los Angeles Free Press Collection

at California State University, Dominguez Hills

About the Digital Free Press Homage Project

Thank you for looking at our project, which was inspired by the CalState Dominguez Hills students and teachers; Gerth Archive staff; and the friends and family of the late Art Kunkin.

For around a year and a half, I had the honor of being the Artist-in-Residence for the Art Kunkin/ Los Angeles Free Press Collection. It was an incredible learning experience where everyone along the way was generous with their time, knowledge, expertise and general enthusiasm for this highly sought after collection.

It all started for me when the Director of the Gerth Archives invited me to join the staff in Joshua Tree when they went to go get this ginormous collection of American history.

As the collection was being processed, I would visit the archivists and see what gems were being discovered above and beyond the actual copies of the underground newspaper. A total of 350 boxes of information was processed.

Highlights include various handwritten letters from luminaries of the 1960’s and 70’s; correspondence with the Black Panthers, Art Kunkin’s 35mm film camera, and Super 8 footage of a small concert possibly in Malibu with Joni Mitchell and Crosby Stills, Nash & Young.

As I reviewed copies of the actual LA Free Press, it was evident early on that most of the issues written about and/or reported on could have easily been recent headlines. This was the impetus for this project.

The Professors, who participated, shared these articles with the students and then the students wrote their responses to the articles. Even though all these articles were written well before the students were born, it’s important to see how change, meaningful change, has it’s own pace.

Once all the articles were received, we met with the Art Department and students selected articles which they developed illustrations for.

We stressed Art Kunkin’s motto which was “every reader is a reporter” and it’s this democratization of media and news that we wanted to highlight in this project.

We are all indebted to the students and their professors. Collectively, this is an homage to years of reporting the Freep staff diligently produced for the community.

Thank you,

Alan Nakagawa
Art Kunkin/ Los Angeles Free Press Collection
Gerth Archives California State University Dominguez Hill