The LAAB Team
Hidden Gems: Meet Bernie Bernardo of The LA Art Box
Bernie Bernardo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bernie Bernardo.

 The LAAB Founders

Hi Bernie, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?

At The LA Art Box, we position ourselves as modern day “storytellers”.

You never know where a conversation is going to lead, especially when it’s between a mother and her 18-year-old son.

My story started June 2020 with the comment, “I don’t really know much about being Filipino”. My sons had moved from city to city several times because I was adamantly determined to move up in my career. What I did not realize was that with every move, I took away my sons’ opportunities to share in the valuable conversations about the richness of our Filipino culture that I constantly heard as a child. Growing up, I was surrounded by my family who shared stories after stories about everything and everywhere. “Kuwento”, as my grandmother would call it; These stories shaped me.

They made me proud of who I was and still am- A kid who stood in a separate line to get free lunch and went to her grandmother’s house after school. Being around my grandmother made me aware of my roots. I am just like her.

I’m Filipina. I’m a strong Female. And I have an Immigrant story that I am deeply proud of.

I left my West Coast Executive Director for the largest beauty brand in the US to start The LA Art Box. I was corporately exhausted and I looked for meaning in what I do every day. So I decided to give back and educate in my own way. I wanted and needed to tell stories of people like me.

That conversation with my son was the first step in my new journey. At 51 years old, I discovered a new purpose. I convinced my lifelong friend, Mar Dumlao to start The LA Art Box. We are on this wonderful adventure together.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?

I’d like to say it’s been an easy road. Who in their right mind leaves a 26 years long career to start an experiential space in the middle of a pandemic??? I guess that’s me. I guess that’s us. But we are determined to bring The LAAB to life!

Like all new businesses, we are challenged finding funding. We took our concept and started a Kickstarter Campaign. We got funded by over 175 backers who believed in our idea. We exceeded our goal to fund our premiere program. Mar and I are indebted to our Kickstarter family for this support.

It’s also a wonderful feeling to know that so many, friends and strangers alike, connect to our concept and why our space is necessary during this time.

The LA Art Box Gallery

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?

Our space is a new hybrid concept- an urban cultural art gallery fused with experiential moments. Our focus is discovering and introducing emerging artists and highlighting their voices through their work. Our gallery will spotlight the diverse communities of Los Angeles because at The LAAB, we believe that we have more in common than that what divides us.

What are we proud of? Our tag line at The LAAB is “We are more than glitz, glam and Instagram”. Our focus as a brand will always align with our values #PRIDE values: Purposeful, Relevant, Inclusivity, Diversity, Experiential. We’re excited to create new partnerships with other POC and their ventures. We want to partner, collaborate and support other AAPI businesses. And we want to feature Artists, especially those who have never shown before and highlight their voices through their work.

Strong. Filipino. Proud.

Our gallery is accessible with our pricing. We are very small but we will always have BIG stories that hopefully our guests will talk about long after they leave our space.

The LA Art Box, #TheLAAB opens on October 3rd at 8020 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?

I am in charge of Artists and program recruitment at The LAAB. The LA Art Box finds most of our Artist partners strictly through social media. I’m constantly surprised because I’m of a certain “age” and who have thought I can navigate finding talent through “sliding through DMs”.

I am constantly appreciative of how well our concept has been received. So far, we are collaborative international partners with Parangal Dance Company, Future Studies, Catwalk to Freedom, and numerous other creatives. Because we source partnerships through social media and only social media, we have the privilege of showing local and global talent.

Pricing:

$25 for Daytime Tickets
$40 for Sunset Tickets which comes with a complimentary wine refresher
Children under 6 years old are free
$20 for College Networking Thursdays

Contact Info:

Email: Info@thelaartbox.com
Website: www.thelaartbox.com
Instagram: @thelaartbox
Facebook: The LAArtBox

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