History and Key Places

We’ve tried to divide discussion questions and projects into general areas of focus.  However, there is a great deal of overlap and some questions and projects could be used in a number of different ways depending on the overarching theme and lesson plan in class.  Hopefully the ideas suggested here will spark some ideas of your own-

ARTS & COMMUNITY ARTS – Discussion Questions:

  • How & why is art (including music & dance) important?  How & why is it important in Leimert Park? What impact has it had on their community?
  • How has the film changed your idea of art and the purpose of art?
  • Does art have to be pretty? Why or why not?  Are there different kinds of “art”?
  • What do you think the film is trying to say about art?  About community?  Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  • How has art had an effect on your life?  Can you think of a specific instance?
  • What role does the drum circle play in the community?  Why is it important? (NOTE:  This is only touched on briefly in the film, but is talked about at greater length by Billy Higgins in his full length interview.  More information/background would probably be necessary in order for the discussion to be relevant and useful in the classroom)


  • Discover community arts in your neighborhood.  How are they the same or different from those in Leimert Park?  Why do you think this happened?
  • Do you have any examples of public art in your community?  How about murals? How do you think murals are different from other public art installation? What role do murals play in a community? Why paint a mural?
  • Look for murals in your community– what is their history?  How are murals different from graffiti?  Why is graffiti different from tagging?
  • Individual semester-long community arts projects can be tailored to each student’s interests and can be drawn from any area of Los Angeles. For example, students can explore, study, and document art work and artists through photographic and historical studies of a community or communities; research the history of rap in one or more communities through interviews with artists, visits to performance venues; study the literature being produced within these communities and the writers producing it; explore community arts movements, their participants and leaders; explore relations the functioning of the LAPD; consider important political and/or social movements in current or past L.A., etc. Students may also create and incorporate their work into their projects, as appropriate.

Anything from a research paper to a multi-media extravaganza is acceptable. Library and on-line research, use of various community institutions, working with and/or interviewing community leaders/individuals/artists, etc., are all valid for research purposes. (When and where appropriate, projects must be documented with any of the documentation styles offered in Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual.)


  • Watch one or more of the full-length interviews.  How does it change the way you see the film?


  • Interview an artist in your community or someone in your community. (Be sure to familiarize yourself with the interview techniques in the resource materials on the website!)  Afterwards – what did you learn?  What surprised you about what they said?  What surprised you about the process?

CRITICAL THINKING – Discussion questions:

  • The film gives (for the most part) the perspective of artists in the community.  To what extent does this represent truth?
  • What are some of the “arguments” the film makes? What is it saying?
  • What expectations did you have before seeing the film?  Was it what you expected? How do you think differently after seeing the film?  Are there some things you don’t feel comfortable talking about or admitting?
  • What is truth?  What makes the difference between a fiction & non-fiction film?  How do we view them differently? 

URBAN STUDIES – Discussion Questions:

  • Did the film change the way you thought about urban neighborhoods & people?  How?
  • How is Leimert Park the same or different from your community?


  • Research an old building or place in your neighborhood – what did you learn?