Part of the Art Night Series of Blog Posts

Many places in the world envy with what we in Los Angeles have. We are able to see each other, despite our ethnicity and creed, eye-to-eye and live as one community. We are able to call each other neighbors. Our own unique L.A. culture incorporates every culture in the world and we make it our own. The United States may be a melting pot of culture in its entirety, but nowhere in the world matches our diversity. Whether we eat greasy tacos in fancy French restaurants, work among people that belong to either cultures or subcultures, or celebrate a wide assortment of holidays and festivals as a community, we are varied and united.

An embodiment of what Los Angeles is was found at Pasadena’s Art Night on May 20th. The art, the music, and the people swirled into a beautiful mishmash of culture and acceptance. Art Night is wonderful. But some ethnicities are better represented than others. Despite our famous progressive social attitudes, we still find ourselves clinging onto old stereotypes and perspectives. Underrepresented cultures and ideals are constantly fogged by our premonitions and assumptions in our fair city. Even I find myself scoffing at French people (for example) due to our limited, mostly televised portrayals of French culture – romantic and fine, but rude and cowardly. Our own prejudices, however, are meant to be shattered by knowledge and inspiration. When I heard the fantastic stylings of accordion player Nick Ariondomusing upon a large crowd in front of the Pasadena Chapter of Alliance Française, my inspiration and curiosity pointed me to find out what French culture and the non-profit organization Alliance Française had to offer.

Alliance Française
Photography by Victor Picena

The Pasadena chapter of Alliance Française is one of the newer additions to Art Night in Pasadena, having only been a part of it for three years. And yet the proud building has stood firm since 1924, one of the earlier chapters of the worldwide non-profit organization. They are a non-profit organization that is dedicated, as you would guess, to the advancement and education of the French language and culture.

Perhaps the biggest draw of this organization is that the people who teach and are part of this organization are actually French, such as development officer Mathilde Dupont Le Canu. She had only been in Los Angeles for the past two years and despite not being fluent in English, gave a commendable effort in giving me as much information as she could while delivering it with a smile. In other words, she was really nice. We are blessed that around the world, everyone is familiar with American culture.

The worldwide reach of Hollywood, U.S. name brands and domestic politics affects more than we realize. With non-profit organizations like Alliance Française existing, we can aim to saturate ourselves in different cultures. After all, culture is like a spice. When you only have salt, you can’t eat as much as you can. So, ladies and gentlemen, let us have our spices and our food. And greasy tacos.

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