Opening Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 12 - 5pm | Closed Monday & Tuesday

18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium | August 11, 2023 through Sunday, May 19, 2024

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes presents 18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium, an exhibition recounting the 80-year history (1925-2005) of the Olympic Auditorium, the home for visceral entertainment in Los Angeles and a historic venue that shaped Los Angeles’ past and influenced its future. From the dangerous combat of boxing to the dramatic theatricality of wrestling, roller derby, and musicthe gritty punch palace at the corner of 18thStreet and Grand Avenue distilled the beauty and brutality of a divided city. 

The Olympic Auditorium was a focal point for Mexican and Mexican American culture in Los Angeles. Its ring was a platform for contenders from Southern California and south of the border that prompted fierce rivalries and inspired intense bonds between athletes and fans. A part of the social fabric of L.A., the Olympic influenced popular culture through its weekly presence on local television, with its famous phone number Richmond 9-5171, and frequent appearances in Hollywood films and TV shows. The action and atmosphere at the Olympic attracted movie stars, gangsters, artists, writers, and community organizers. Still, its most loyal fans were working-class Angelenos, a fact well understood by Olympic manager Aileen Eaton, a female promoter who thrived in the male-dominated world of combat sports for nearly four decades. 

18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium is an immersive exhibition that encompasses both floors of the museum and cultural center and remembers characters from a disappearing world, from heroes to villains, connecting the venue to seminal events and cultural movements throughout L.A. history. Gathered from multiple collections the exhibit features distinctive objects, relics, and images, such as embroidered boxing robes, hand-stitched lucha masks, race-worn roller skates, illustrations, photography, film, oral historiesboxing posters, wrestling programs, punk rock flyers, art and more. 

Curated by filmmaker Stephen DeBro, Latino boxing historian and author Gene Aguilera with LA Plaza curators Karen Crews Hendon, Esperanza Sanchez, and the LA Plaza curatorial team.

Exhibition Dates: August 11, 2023- May 19, 2024

Image: Theo Ehret (1920-2012), Mil Máscaras and Ernie Ladd at the Olympic Auditorium, c.1970s, Black and white photograph, Courtesy of Theo Ehret Estate, ©Theo Ehret Estate. Used with permission, all rights reserved 

Matterport 3D Tour – 18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium, Part 1

Matterport 3D Tour – 18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium, Part 2