Phantom in the News: Edgar Garcia

In its 25th year, the Getty’s
Multicultural Internship Program is changing the face of arts leadership in L.A.

Alumni of the Getty’s Multicultural Internship Program, from left: Hanna Girma, Edgar Garcia, Letitia Fernandez Ivins, John Tain and Betty Avila. (Christina House / For The Times)

In summer 1999, Edgar Garcia took an internship at the Los Angeles Conservancy that helped change the course of his life.

Born in Hollywood and raised in Lincoln Heights, Garcia is the son of Mexican immigrants who, when he was accepted at Yale University, hoped he might study something “practical.” Maybe medicine, engineering or law.

“I was forcing myself to go down that track and take the courses in areas I thought I had to,” he recalls. “But every time I took a history or architecture course, that was my passion.”

That passion ultimately led him to apply to the Getty Foundation’s Multicultural Internship Program, which funds undergraduate internships for students from underrepresented groups at cultural organizations around Los Angeles County.

Through that program, he landed a summer internship at the Los Angeles Conservancy, where he helped map historic sites in Lincoln Heights and put together a historical exhibition in collaboration with students from Lincoln High School.

“I’d had no idea that organizations dedicated to either architecture or public art or programs like that were so professionalized,” recalls Garcia. “I didn’t know that was even a viable career.”

Indeed, it has been quite viable for Garcia in the years since.

Today, he is the deputy for art and culture at City Hall, helping manage art and culture policy for Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The Getty Foundation’s Multicultural Internship Program was launched as a direct response to the Los Angeles riots in 1992.



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