The LA Arts District

Just down the street from Little Tokyo is what is possibly one of my favourite places we visited in LA: the Arts District.

*Disclaimer: we unfortunately didn’t get to to too far past the Angel City Brewery because we were so pressed for time.

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A vacancy filled by artists

If you look just past the Angel City Brewery, you’ll see lines of warehouses that were originally used for the citrus industry and later for trucking. These companies were eventually overrun or absorbed by bigger companies, leaving the area vacant, that is, until the artists showed up.

During the mid-70s, the industrial spaces were turned into art studios, exhibits, bars, clubs, and, in some cases, [illegal] cheap housing. The government eventually caught wind of this and in 1981 began the “Artists in Residence” program where they allowed artists to continue residing in these industrial/commercial buildings but with regulations. This, to me, seems like a good idea especially in light of the Oakland warehouse fire last year.

The 2000s saw many loft developments in the area (as it likely was deemed a “hip area”). This lead to the gentrification of the Arts District, as well as an increase in the cost of living… Which is ironic because artists could no longer afford to live there. Funny how things go. 

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A love for street art

If you couldn’t already tell from my post about Toronto’s Graffiti Alley, or the fact that I have a whole gallery pagededicated to it: I love street art. Not only is it often visually breathtaking and a show of true artistry, but it’s also a reflection of what the people of a city feels and thinks. 

I could have spent hours walking through the entire district, examining every single peeling sticker, splash of paint, and slogan around, but that would likely have taken up the entire day (ask Andrew). There were so many pieces that stood out to me, but this one below was my absolute favourite. One of the things I love most about street art is that sometimes you’ll read something that resonates deeply with your soul; this is one of them. 

Below are some more photos from the Angel City Brewery walls. I’m definitely going to have to allot waayyyyy more time for exploring this area during our next visit. 

Some practical info: 

  • Look straight, look up, look down! The Angel City Brewery, at least, is covered top to bottom in art.
  • Every 2nd Thursday of each month you can participate in an Art Walk through DTLA! You can read more about that here.

Which cities do you think have the best street art?

 

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