Within the “official boundaries” of the Arts District (101 Freeway to the north, 7th Street to the south, Alameda Street to the west, and Los Angeles River to the east), there are now more than seven commercial art galleries. In the area south of 7th St. (aka “South of Seventh”) to the 10 Freeway, at least six galleries are now open. In the area past the 10 Freeway and well “Beyond the Arts District” (aka the BADlands), seven art spaces (and counting!) have opened. East of the Arts District across the Los Angeles River in Boyle Heights, there are now five. Click the title “Galleries & Art Spaces” above for locations.
Known for its support of the street art scene and the largest rotating outdoor gallery of its kind in the City of Los Angeles, the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles has public art on view for free at any given time. Over the years, I’ve photographed hundreds of the area’s temporary artworks, large and small.
In addition to outdoor murals, there are what Jaime Rojo and Steven Harrington of the Huffington Post calls “numerous organic or magnet walls; i.e., walls on decrepit or decaying urban blocks where a slap-happy unaligned group of artists continuously add to the layers on the street for an ever-evolving show. The variety of styles and processes is pretty wide, ranging from large-run stickers and screen-printed posters to hand-stitched abstract geometry and penciled portraits, some exhibiting the “New Guard” who herald a different approach to graffiti and street art with their storytelling and mashups. Besides a lively series of messages that are strongly political, other themes include celebrity, video games, pop culture and simple illustrations and fascinations or daydreams.” (click here for the rest of their comments and images of local art).
The Arts District is home to L.A. Freewalls, a groundbreaking project designed to foster a constructive artistic environment for open and free expression. It is a community-supported initiative designed to broaden the scope of the burgeoning street art movement and to educate visitors to the value of public expression. The overwhelming support by residents and visitors to the neighborhood has allowed the project to develop into an excellent model for sustainable urban mural development. To date, L.A. Freewalls has helped create than 45 (and counting!) outdoor murals on more than 75,000 sq. ft. of walls within the boundaries of the 52-block Downtown Arts District of Los Angeles. Here is a MAP with a dozen mural locations produced with the support of L.A. Freewalls.