Bet you didn't think you would find art at the mall. If you doubt that fine art and the Southern California shopping mall experience could go hand-in-hand, head to Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Enter Macy's and travel up to the third floor. Round a few corners and you'll find the Museum of African American Art. Founded in 1976 by Dr. Samella Lewis, an artist and art historian, the museum operates out of a space donated by the department store. At first glance it appears tiny, more comparable in size to a small gallery than a museum. But the museum swells after you travel through hallways that seem almost secret. The crown jewel here is the Palmer C. Hayden collection of paintings. A noted artist of the Harlem Renaissance, Hayden's work explored daily life, religion and culture with an emphasis on the African-American experience. While you can check out his works through the museum's website, you really should see them up close. In addition to a permanent collection, the Museum of African American Art hosts regular exhibitions.

LA Weekly