Sunday, June 3, 2012

Where to Be Merry: Art @ The Downtown Art Walk

The Merriment: A celebration of the arts in galleries, stores, outdoor spaces and the streets on multiple blocks in downtown LA 

The Vibes: Eclectic, inspiring, artsy, intriguing

Good for: Whenever you want to see the local LA art scene

When-to-Go: Monthly; every 2nd Thursday of the month, in the evenings

With-Whom-to-Go: Everyone! Dates, friends, fam, kiddies, alone

The $ Factor: FREE, unless you of course, you’re planning to buy art

The 4-1-1: The main action takes place on South Main Street and South Spring Street, anywhere between East 3rd Street and West 7th Street, although in reality, there are other galleries and spaces in close proximity. Park your car nearby, wear comfy shoes and then stroll along to each different stop.

I’ll Be Back…: Because it’s always a different experience each time!

I initially hesitated to write about The Downtown Art Walk festivities, only because everybody and their mama seem to already know about it. 


It is one of the most well-known and popular functions around town and it is a great place to be merry, so I figured it had a right to be mentioned on Wilson’s “Where To” Guide. 

I think what’s attracted thousands of people of all ages, backgrounds and regions (and me!) to it throughout the years is the vast amount of diverse types of art to see and experience. Photography, music, dance, clothes, live installations, framed artwork – if you can imagine it, it’s there. I’ve seen mariachi bands in full traditional garb get crowds grooving in the middle of the street one night, just as I’ve seen big brass bands and James Brown impersonators making the same effect. 

From galleries that always open their doors every month, to pop-up spaces that come and go, it’s always fun to figure out where to find the best art each time. A hidden alleyway might be transformed into a mini-outdoor lounge complete with a DJ and bar…or an old, defunct theater that was probably breathtaking in its heyday will house dramatic live performances one Art Walk night. Cleaners and barbershops even display art at times, and recently, a former early-20th century chocolate shop with incredible Dutch-inspired chocolate tile work has been restored to house a high-end furniture store (pictured to the right). 

I also think part of Art Walk’s appeal is that it is ever evolving. Sure, long gone are the good old days when a mere handful of people wandered the streets to stop into a few galleries, which typically offered free wine (now, most places charge for booze and often times you can barely move without getting trampled on), but that’s OK! It’s simply a different vibe, with more art, more people, more food options and bigger brands – like Ben & Jerry’s - bringing their own unique flavor to the mix. It’ll be interesting to see how this event continues to grow, expand and change, season after season.

I’ll close out with a couple of snapshots of Art Walk scenes from the past four years and perhaps I’ll see you at an Art Walk Thursday sometime soon!

The Los Angeles Theater Center has rotating, temporary exhibits… 

...and if you go downstairs, there’s The Latino Museum. 
It’s small, but with some incredible pieces. 

View looking onto the street from one of my favorite venues, the Sprint Art Gallery. 
Always incredible art to see, from photographs to live installations, paintings and more. 

A parking lot transformed into an art vendor festival. 

A parking lot transformed into a food truck gathering spot. 

The Museum of Neon Art. 

A band getting down on the street corner. 

Think outside the box: shoes, jewelry, clothing … you’ll find it all at this Art Walk. 

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