In the Beginning...




St. Elmo Village, Inc. is a credit to the human spirit. It is a fine example of what can be created when a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural people come together for the good of all. Located in mid-city Los Angeles, St. Elmo Village initially existed as a mere group of dwellings on St. Elmo Drive. The surrounding neighborhood, predominately African-American and Latin, had reached a point of visual deterioration.

In the mid-sixties, Roderick and Rozzell Sykes, nephew and uncle respectively, rented a couple of these dwellings on St. Elmo Drive. Both men are visual artists (Rozzell passed away in 1994) and both were thriving independently. However, by 1969, they, along with other artists, decided to present their work as a group and in their own environment - this was the birth of St. Elmo Village as an art space.

St. Elmo Village, Inc. has survived the past 46 years by reaching out to the community with its positive image. With the purpose of providing a place for individuals to explore and develop their creativity, the message of the Village has always been: "Do your best, no matter who or where you are. Eliminate 'I can't' and discover the rewards of 'I can'!"

Our Cactus Garden...
In 1969, there were no plants or flowers on the Village grounds. When the dirt was watered, weeds known as Four O'Clocks began to grow. Villagers soon planted various varieties of trees. These trees now thrive in the Village, symbolizing the people from all ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds, who also thrive in the Village. The cactus gardens were started in 1969, when actor Jeff Bridges donated the first two plants. The Village is now graced with numerous varieties of cacti, succulents and tropical plants. The characteristics of the hardy cactus plants mirror those of the Village, in that both are able to withstand harsh conditions, yet retain their singular beauty and quiet grace.

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