Pico House Story

When Angelica Gonzalez-Oriol first came to Los Angeles, she volunteered at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), then later became part of their leadership program. As part of leadership program, she became aware that Latino artists had little or no representation in galleries or   museums.  Also, funding for Latino artist was less than 1% . United Latinos for the Arts in Los Angeles (ULA LA) was form as an advocacy group for Latino artists.












Instead of asking for others to exhibit Latino artists, Angelica started looking for a space and seeking funding. She met Mr.Richard Alatorre, then City of Los Angeles concilman. Mr. Alatorre told Angelica of a building in Olvera street. The buidling been abandoned for over 40 years;  the windows were broken, some floors and walls were missing and some homeless had been living there for years.  Eventhoug, the building was in shambles and needed lots of work to make it work as an exhibition space, she fell in love with the building and saw the possibilities.  The building was the Pico House in Olvera Street.

Angelica went back to her MALDEF leadership group. In the group was a man named Victor Franco who worked for Miller Brewing in Community Affairs so she approached him for the funding. Now with money and a space, she needed help from someone with construction background and a strong art background to help her with the dream of the Pico House as a gallery. That’s when she was introduced to Eriberto Oriol. 



Eriberto became responsible for the exhibit installation and space design. Eriberto brought in Reyes Rodriguez and his crew to put in floors, walls, fix the windows and paint the inside. Remarkably within 2 weeks the building was beautiful and ready to be used as an exhibition space. Daniel Martinez/artist a friend of Eriberto, came and saw what was happening at the Pico House and pretty soon they had lights for the exhibit donated by Cal Arts. The Pico House was then ready for it’s first exhibit.



Eriberto Orol became Curator and Gallery Director for the Pico House and produced the FIRST major graffiti exhibit in Los Angeles – Burning Desire a graffiti exhibit before it was safe, trendy, and cool and later on also produced the FIRST Tribute to Alfredo Siqueiros.  See Burning Desire story in Frank 151.


Burning Desire Exhibit that drew (18,000 visitors) and A Tribute to Siqueiros (27,000 visitors).  The exhibits received media from around the world: Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, USA Today, NBC, KCAL 9, KMEX 34, KVEA 52, Fox 11, Channel 22 and CNN in electronic media.



Burning Desire Exhibit at the Pico House in August 1989 then traveled to the “The Mexican Museum” in San Francisco from May – July 1991.

City Council man and chairman of Moca, Joel Walsh came to check out what was happening at the Pico House.  He brought MOCA to see the work being produced at the Pico House.  MOCA  brought one of the graffiti painting  of young artist Armando Santiago, Mandoe for Moca’s permanent collection. Mandoe became the youngest Latino to be part of Moca’s permanent collection. Walsh is now President of the Andy Warhol foundation. More on the graffiti story at  Burning Desire story in Frank 151.


The FIRST exhibit at the PICO HOUSE was LA LA and featured artwork from artists:  Carlos Almaraz, Alfredo De Batuc, Guillermo Bert, David Botello, Rudy Calderon, Elsa Flores, Margaret Garcia, Wayne Healy, Willie Herron, Rosalyn Mesquita, Francesco Siqueiros, Eloy Torrez, John Valadez and Patssi Valdez – February 25 – April 8, 1989.

Other artists featured at the Pico House were: Alfredo Banuelos, Ulysses Diaz, Isabel Martinez, Margaret Guzman and Eriberto Oriol.

Special Thanks

Through the efforts of bringing up the space par, the  (Pico House) for the past 30 years now it has been of service to many artists, variety of organizations and venues, and to the Hollywood entertainment industry.

Principal sponsors for the Pico House: Victor Franco from Miller Brewing, Latin Business Association – Harold Martinez Able Industrial Products.

MALDEF leadership and Ula la Board of Directors: Teddie Mercure, Jose Figueroa, Dr. Naomi Quinonez, Tomas Benetiz, Magdalena Duran, Maria Elena Chamsaur and Tomas Gonzlez.

Additional funding from Teddi Mercure, Frank Casares from La Luz de Dia Restaurant, Andy Camacho from El Paseo Restaurant, Cal Arts, Al Nodal from City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs, Rockefellers Foundation and the California Arts Council.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mr. Richard Alatorre for his vision and support.  Henry Gonzalez Assistant to Councilman Alatorre, Frank Casares from La Luz de Dia Restaurant, Andy Camacho from El Paseo Restaurant,and Al Nodal from City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs. John Huerta from MALDEF,  godfather of ULA LA, thank you for drafting the articles of incorporation.



Contact:  eribertoartx@yahoo.com




April 2021

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