LA as Subject

Collectively preserving, archiving and sharing the rich history and culture of Los Angeles

Center for the Study of Political Graphics

3916 Sepulveda Blvd – Suite 103
Culver City, CA 90230

Contact: Ms. Carol Wells, Executive Director
Phone: 310-397-3100
Fax: 310-397-9305

Institution Type: Archive, Arts Institution/Center, Research Center/Institution, Study Center

Web site:

Archives and Collections

The Center for the Study of Political Graphics is an educational and research archive that collects, preserves, documents, and exhibits domestic and international poster art. The Center’s domestic and international collection of more than 60,000 political posters dates from the early 20th century to the present, and includes the largest collection of post World War II political posters in the United States. The posters are produced in a variety of artistic mediums— offset, silk screen, lithography, woodblock, linocut, stencil, photocopy, and computer-generated prints. The collection is focused on international, domestic, and Los Angeles-specific human rights issues, with an emphasis on progressive movements in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Poster topics include the women’s movement, racism, peace, apartheid, labor, liberation theology, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, immigrants’ rights, children’s rights, and ecology. Between one and two thousand posters are acquired annually, primarily through donation. Approximately half of these are given by collectors in Los Angeles and reflect the diverse political interests of the donors. This has yielded a collection that, in part, documents important but often underrepresented aspects of local history and life in the Los Angeles area. The collection contains approximately three thousand human rights and protest posters produced in Los Angeles from 1965 to the present. The earliest of these came out of the Watts Uprising of 1965, while the more recent posters not only reflect prevailing concerns but commemorate older events, such as the U.S. government’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Altogether, the posters illustrate the commitment of many Los Angeles-based artists, organizations, and individuals to a variety of social and political issues over the last five decades.

Regions Covered: Domestic and International

Type of Materials: Cultural Artifacts, Materials & Objects

Time Periods: 1900-1920, 1921-1949, 1950-1963, 1964-1980, 1981-Present

Languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, Vietnamese

Sectors of the Population: Artistic Communities, Community Service Organizations, Developmentally Disabled, Education, Gender Specific, Homeless, Labor Unions, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Migrant Workers, Politics/Government, Youth, African Descent, Asian Descent, European Descent, Jewish Descent, Mexican Descent/Chicano/Latino, Middle Eastern Descent, Native American Descent/Indigenous, Multiethnic, At or Below Poverty Level, Lower to Middle Income


Catalog System: Materials are cataloged using MIMSY XG Uncatalogued posters are filed by subject and/or geographic location of origin. At present, more than 75% of the collection has been sorted and filed and close to 50% has been catalogued.
Digital Formats: Approximately 3,000 posters have been photographed and digitized.
Repository/Depository: Yes
Loan To Others: Yes
Exhibited: Yes
Makes Purchases: Yes
Outreach: Brochures/Flyers/Pamphlets, Conferences/Conventions, Internet, Newsletter, Public Lectures & Programs, Radio/TV/Video