Pomona Art Walk spotlights Black business

A group of dancers performs a traditional Tibetan dance at the Pomona Art Walk on Second Street in downtown Pomona on Saturday. The event showcases live music, street food and art on the second Saturday of every month. / photo by Casi Martinez

Brandy Estrada
Staff Writer 

The African American Advisory Alliance held their monthly black marketplace at the art walk this Saturday to showcase Black businesses, entertainment and art in Downtown Pomona. 

The Black marketplace displayed vendors, artists, a food truck and musicians outside on Second Street and inside the Alliance Cultural Center.  

Inside the Alliance Community Cultural Center was an art piece of a Black woman dressed elegantly displayed and centered on the brick wall. The art piece was created using only fabrics to create the face, clothing, hair and accessories.

The artists behind the art piece were a married couple, Gary V. Lett and Lisha K. Lett. The inspiration behind the artwork was from Lisha Lett’s mother. 

Art and creativity to Lisha Lett means inner passion within and displaying it on the canvas.

“My husband has a phrase and calls it NIA, natural inner ability, because things that are within you will come out,” Lisha K. Lett said. 

Gary Lett has been an artist for years and recently started collaborating with his wife. Lisha Lett shares two pieces of artwork with Gary Lett and is currently working on a third one. 

Andrea Angus, artist and creator at the art walk, had 3D silhouettes, jewelry, accessories, shea butter and many more art pieces displayed inside the cultural center. 

Angus has been doing art her whole life and started drawing as a kid with chalk on the streets of Pomona.

Angus started her journey from tattooing, which led her to become a professional artist. Angus was able to supply herself with the necessary paints and pastels with the income from tattooing.

A singer performs a traditional Chinese song in Cantonese, “Ode to a Pear Blossom,” at the Pomona Art Walk on Saturday. Held the second Saturday of every month on Second Street in downtown Pomona, the art walk showcases the live music, street food and art of the city. / photo by Casi Martinez

Ascension, rejuvenation and transformation is how Angus described what art means to her. 

“(I paint) from feelings from what I know, people at the African American Museum of New Beginnings, I grew up around these people and these are my village people,” Angus said. “I would love for my art to be an asset for people one day so that they can hold something that is worth something because it came from me, but it came from all of us because it was passed down to me.” 

Angus is a first generation Jamaican from Pomona and used to sell her art at the Pomona Art Walk before becoming an official who is now an anchor resident. Angus’ first quarter show was on Saturday and her work can be found on Instagram @Andrea_loveink

Ilia Steward, full-time business owner of Xalia Boutique, displayed her clothing in a canopy tent for customers to come inside and shop. 

The clothing from the boutique included many trendy tops, bottoms and dresses in various sizes and colors. 

Steward runs her business online and participates in pop-up events. The boutique has been up and running for three years, and before this, Steward worked at the post office but left a year ago to focus on the boutique. 

The last time Steward was at the art walk was in October but has returned to sell her clothes. Steward enjoys setting up her boutique at the Pomona Art Walk because of the good vibes and people that come out.

“I like interaction, you never know what you [will] come across or who you will come across, and that is the biggest thing for me,” Steward said about how being a business owner means freedom. 

Steward’s inspiration is her mother because she feels that she can fit in almost everywhere with the help of her mother.

Steward was born and raised mostly in Los Angeles. She has an Instagram account for her shop @shopxalia.

“This was a fun and new experience for me, and it made the far drive from Whittier worth it,” Alyssa Villalpando, school aid, said. “I stayed inside for a while to enjoy the art and music.” 

The Pomona Art Walk is held every second Saturday of the month from 5 to 10 p.m. For more information about the Alliance Black Marketplace, visit the African American Advisory Alliance

Brandy Estrada can be reached at brandy.estrada@laverne.edu.

Brandy Estrada is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Casi Martinez, a senior photography major, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and photography editor of La Verne Magazine.


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