PHOTO GALLERY: New Arts District Mural

Artist BB Bastidas painted a sexy neighbor named “Pluto” next to Mister Cartoon’s iconic “Big Los Angeles” mural on Garey St. in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. The new mural spans a 15’x30’ wall on Garey St. near District Millworks. To view my photo gallery on Tumblr, click HERE. For details about the artist, his influences, and his work, check out this preview article by Cartwheel Art.

PHOTO GALLERY © Downtown Muse | Melissa Richardson Banks: BB Bastidas and his Pluto mural

RECAP: dtla/AD in the news

Did you catch these stories about the Arts District and some of our residents and businesses? Some old, some new … I love discovering write-ups about our neighborhood. Got any to share? ~ #MRB

Featured Photo: Nadia Geller Designs

Designer Nadia Geller opens studio and market in downtown Arts District
By Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2013

” … After years spent decorating more than 20 lofts in the downtown Arts District, interior designer Nadia Geller said she grew frustrated with the trendy neighborhood. “It was missing a homey, eclectic shop …”

Nadia Geller Designs Studio & Market
1807 E. 7th St., Ste. B
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(323) 654-0589

Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival Celebrates Globally Beloved Dish with Top L.A. Chefs
by Joshua Lurie, Food GPS, August 14, 2013

“…This chef-driven, all-inclusive event spotlights one of the world’s best loved and most versatile dishes in a fashionable industrial setting. Eleven of L.A.’s best chefs will allow guests to enjoy multiple styles of fried chicken at their own pace, along with side dishes, desserts, craft beer, and cocktails …”

Urban Radish Market Opens Downtown
Daily Candy, August 13, 2013

“… you’d have a better chance locating a needle in one of those proverbial haystacks than finding a grocery store worth its salt. Until Urban Radish sprouted up. The new, 6,000-square-foot marketplace is a foodie’s paradise …”

Urban Radish
661 Imperial St., between 7th and Jesse (parallel to Santa Fe & Mateo streets)
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 892-1570

Verve Coffee Roasters Next Headed to Los Angeles
by Kat Odell, Eater LA, August 12, 2013

“…Los Angeles has no shortage of specialty coffee bars from east side to west, and in addition to Stumptown shacking up in the Arts District downtown, Santa Cruz’s Verve Coffee Roasters is also en route. LA Weekly relays news that Verve has signed a lease in LA and will open a cafe, roastery, and retail shop …”

Grand Opening Ceremony Aug. 17 for Urban Radish
by Downtown News, August 9, 2013

“… The Arts District’s Urban Radish opened July 4 with an Independence Day celebration. Area denizens celebrated just having a small grocery store within walking distance. Now, the 8,200-square-foot market at 660 Mateo St. is ready for its official debut: A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 17 …”

A Bridge to the Future: L.A.’s Iconic Sixth Street Bridge to be Replaced
by Yazmin Nunez, Boyle Heights Beat, July 30, 2013

“… HNTB wants the bridge to do more than just connect Boyle Heights to downtown Los Angeles. The architectural firm also wants to connect the Eastside to the rest of the city and ‘not just provide a connection from east to west, but probably go from below to above and bring these two communities together’…”

What’s in My Loft?: Eric Lynxwiler & Phil McKinley, Molino Lofts
by Kathryn Maese, Downtown News, August 6, 2007

“… We’ve got a collection of neon signs, which I can take the credit for. I’m not ashamed of dumpster diving nor getting my hands dirty to save a sign that’s threatened by a wrecker’s ball …”

Development We Applaud: Paul Solomon
By Developer Alert, 2006

“… Paul Solomon quit his job as a real estate attorney to pursue a dream of redeveloping obsolete factory buildings in downtown Los Angeles (an area that is now being called the Arts District) …”

LOS ANGELES: Residents Appointed to 6th Street Bridge Public Arts Advisory Committee

Five Angelenos were nominated by Councilmember Jose Huizar and appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve on the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC) for the new Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement project. Representing the Arts District, Downtown Muse‘s Melissa Richardson Banks of CauseConnect and Tim Keating of LARABA, HCNC and LADADspace will work with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and help guide the development of community standards for future public art projects related to the bridge. Other PAAC members include Anne Bray of Freewaves, Abe Flores of Arts for L.A., and Edward Padilla of CASA 0101.

Three other Arts District stakeholders — Yuval Bar-Zemer of Linear City, Jonathan Jerald of LARABA & LADADspace, and Eric Owen Moss of SCI-Arc — are among the nine community members serving separately on the bridge’s Design Aesthetic Advisory Committee (DAAC). Since 2012, the DAAC has worked to provide input on bridge aesthetics, associated roadways, and gateway elements.

For a full list of DAAC members and to keep informed in general, visit the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project’s website.

RECAP: The A.D. in the News 8/5/13

Did you catch these stories about the Arts District and some of our residents and businesses that I discovered recently. Did I miss any? What did you think about these? Let me know! ~ MRB

© Photo: “C.C. Boyce of Few Bits” by Melissa Richardson Banks | Downtown Muse

27 Colorful Snaps From the Downtown Flea’s Epic Debut
by Natalie Alcala, Racked L.A., July 29, 2013

“…DTLA’s new monthly flea market officially launched this past weekend in the Historic Core … jam-packed event … stacked with vibrantly-hued vendors [some from the Arts District, including C.C. Boyce of Few Bits], LA-made treasures and a whole lot of fashion trucks …”

What’s in My Loft?: C.C. Boyce and Adrian Phillips, Biscuit Company Lofts
by Downtown News, July 29, 2013

“… C.C. Boyce has lived in various buildings in Downtown over the past 11 years, but the Biscuit Company Lofts unit she and her husband Adrian Phillips moved into last year is her favorite. They were in the Toy Factory Lofts across the street, but relocated for the bigger pool, two parking spaces and an outdoor garden where they could grow vegetables …”

Architect John Parkinson built for Los Angeles’ growing metropolis
By Liesl Bradner, Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2013

“… If you stand on the corner of 4th and Spring streets in downtown, it’s possible to view sections of at least 12 buildings designed by John Parkinson: the Los Angeles Theatre Center (formerly Security National Bank), the Title Insurance building and the city’s first palatial hotel, the Spanish Renaissance-style Alexandria Hotel, to name a few …”

New Italian Restaurant Coming to Arts District
by Downtown News, July 24, 2013

“… Matteo Ferdinandi, who in 2008 partnered with chef Celestino Drago to open the 9,500-square-foot Drago Centro, is working on a new project called The Factory Kitchen, a 3,000-square-foot Italian restaurant set to open in late September …”

Life After Close of Arts District BID in DTLA… Is It Time to Pack-Up My Louboutins?
by The Fashionista’s BlackBook, June 14, 2013

“… As a resident of Downtown Los Angeles, I was dumbfounded when Judge Robert H. O’Brien ordered Arts District Business Improvement District to dissolve last month, citing that the BID spent tax money that didn’t benefit all property owners in the area. It was one of those “huh?” moments where the letters of the law quite hasn’t caught up to the realities of our community … Although many in DTLA claim that our community is the west coast version of New York City, we still have a very long way to go…

High Fashion in the Arts District: 12345
by Kyle Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles: I’m Yours, January 22, 2013

“… You could almost miss the store, though. Aside from a giant white square with the numbers 12345, something easily confused for a street address, you would probably pass by the space. There is a mirrored window with a white circle in the middle of it, a little mark requesting for your inspection: it’s a peep hole into the store … What is this place? That’s 12345. The collection of clothing is positioned as upper mid-level clothes …”

TIPS: Bike Theft Prevention

As the founder of our neighborhood’s weekly Arts District Bike-Walk Social Club (#RADDsocial), you KNOW that I just love bikes. In fact, so much that I own a few, which I often loan out, and have even given away a couple so that others can join in the two-wheeled fun! Sadly, as the popularity of cycling increases everywhere, so do incidents of bike theft. Since I’ve noticed that there are several new bike owners out there, as well as many who don’t realize the increase in this crime, I wanted to share some basic information on how best to lock your bike to avoid theft, and if it’s stolen, how to document information about it in advance.


  1. Use quality latches, such as U-locks, chains and heavy padlocks.
  2. Avoid using ONLY cable locks (if used, combine with other quality latches).
  3. When outdoors, use solid fixtures to lock your bike such as the following (never leave an unsecured or weakly secured bicycle alone for any length of time since thieves are capable of stealing them in just minutes, sometimes seconds):
    • Bicycle racks
    • Signs
    • Light posts
    • Fence posts
    • Parking meters
    • Gas mains
    • Mature trees
  4. Tighten the lock as much as possible to your bike or the fixture so thieves have no room to pry them open using bolt cutters or cut through.
  5. Clasp the frame, front wheel, AND rear wheel of your bike when locking it (see illustration below).
  6. Never rely on bolts or screws to hold anything down as wrenches and screwdrivers are common tools.
  7. When not in use, store your bike indoors.

How to Lock Your Bike LAPD


In case your bike is stolen and later recovered, the following preventive actions are recommended:

  1. Take photos of your bike.
  2. Record the serial number, make, model and color of your bike (type into your phone so you can quickly report a loss).
  3. Write or etch your name somewhere on the bike frame.
  4. Register your bike (in Downtown Los Angeles, you can download the LAPD Bike Registration Card below and deliver a completed copy to the agency’s Central Division at 251 E. 6th St., Los Angeles 90014 – keep an original at home and don’t forget to also record the information on your phone!).


LAPD Tip Sheet on Bike Theft Prevention
LAPD Central Division Bike Registration Card
NBC4 Undercover Bike Investigation

HISTORY: Architect Parkinson Left Footprint in dtla/AD

Featured Photo of 800 Traction Ave. by @ Downtown Muse | MRB

Arts District Sign-300

Arts District sign @ Photo by Downtown Muse | MRB

A recent Los Angeles Times article about John B. Parkinson reminded me that this influential architect — known for designing our city’s most enduring landmarks — also left his mark in the Arts District.

923 E. 3rd St. building

923 E. 3rd St. building @ Photo by Downtown Muse | MRB

One Arts District building designed by Parkinson in partnership with G. Edwin Bergstrom (with whom he worked during 1905-1915) was built in 1909 as the Pacific Hardware & Steel Co. Warehouse. Today, it is often referenced simply as 923 E. 3rd. Zoned as Artist in Residence (AIR), this building houses residential rental lofts and also houses businesses such as Eat.Drink.Americano and R23 Japanese Cuisine.

In 1916, he designed what is currently another AIR residential loft building still emblazoned with names of its former occupants: Joannes Brothers Company and Angeles Desk Co. Located at 800 Traction Ave., it also formerly housed Ben-Hur Products, Inc., a California-based producer of coffee, spices, extracts, tea and desserts, which was acquired by McCormick in 1953.

940 E. 2nd St. lofts

940 E. 2nd St. lofts @ Photo by Downtown Muse | MRB

During the 1920s, Parkinson also redesigned what is now a condo building called the 940 E 2ND ST lofts. Originally built in 1906 as the Spreckel Bros. Sugar Beet Warehouse (the same Spreckel brothers John and Adolph who were industrialists in San Diego), this building went through several renovations over the years, including one during the 1920s by Parkinson.

RECAP: The A.D. in the News

Here are some stories that feature or mention the Arts District that I discovered recently. What are your thoughts about these? What news have you seen online or in print recently about the Arts District? Did I miss any? Let me know!

Featured Photo of Monique Wallis at Eat.Drink.Americano by Kimberly Genevieve for designlovefest, © 2013

Rumor Mill: London’s Soho House Looking to Open in Downtown LA Arts District
by Brigham Yen, DTLA Rising, July 25, 2013

“… The private membership club ‘for those in film, media, and creative industries’ is rumored to be looking at a couple different sites in the creative heart of the Arts District: one near Bestia and a more serious contender at 405 Mateo, which is a gorgeous but vacant 5-story industrial edifice at the junction of the 4th Street Bridge and the Molino Street Lofts …”

L.A. River advocates wait for watershed Army Corps study
by Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2013

“… [L.A. River Revitalization Corp. wants] to complete a continuous bike path and greenway along all 51 miles of the river, extending from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, by 2020 … advocates for the river … argue that federal investment will complement major infrastructure and design projects … [including] a $400-million replacement for the 6th Street Bridge [in the Arts District], expected to open in 2019 with substantial new park space along and near the river; and the expansion of bike paths around the city …”

Eat Drink Americano / Downtown LA
by Kimberly Genevieve, designlovefest, July 23, 2013

“…one of the coolest things about eat drink americano is the decor. it has a very rustic vibe. the food is served on wood boards, they have an enormous chalkboard wall with impressive typography, mismatched chairs and couches create unique vignettes…”

Los Angeles Primer: The Arts District
by Colin Marshall, KCET Departures, July 9, 2013

“… Call it cynicism if you must, but if I went to someplace called the “Arts District” in most North American cities, I wouldn’t necessarily expect to find art; in most cases, I’d expect to find nothing at all. The name smacks of official desperation …”

LA’s Legendary Punk/Alternative Club Al’s is Now a Yoga Studio
by Adrian Glick Kudler, Curbed LA, June 20, 2013

“…Westside Rentals owner Mark Verge has just bought the American single-resident occupancy apartment building and [according to the Los Angeles Times] … ‘has long-range plans to upgrade apartment units in the building and put a Westside Rentals office in as part of the American office’…”

For Regional Connector, Metro Wants Things to Go Bump in the Night
by Ryan Vaillancourt, Downtown News, June 7, 2013

“…Essentially, the agency is asking for the right to do construction seven days per week, 24 hours per day … on First Street, between Alameda and Hewitt streets …”

5 Best Places to Eat in the Downtown Arts District
by Christine Chiao, LA Weekly, May 2, 2013

“… Clustered in pairs or trios, newer restaurants, bars and cafés have cropped up in the Arts District in the past five years or so, reflecting the forward trajectory of a city accustomed to fashioning function from old spaces and form at new locations …”

Oh God, is the Arts District Going to Be the Next Meatpacking District?
by Adrian Glick Kudler, Curbed LA, January 21, 2013

“…Uh oh, the Arts District “is drawing favorable comparisons to New York’s meatpacking district,” according to the LA Times…”

RECAP: The A.D. in the News

In case you missed these recent stories about the Arts District … Wow, just a few years ago, no one really knew much about our neighborhood. Now, it’s increasingly a topic in the news. What are your thoughts about these? What news have you seen online or in print recently about the Arts District? Let me know!

Spotted: Stumptown’s New Home
by Lesley Balla, Zagat, July 18, 2013

“…A loft-dwelling spy saw the new roaster being delivered to a space at the corner of Santa Fe and 7th Place earlier this week …”

New Italian Restaurant Coming to Arts District
Downtown News, July 24, 2013

“… Matteo Ferdinandi, who in 2008 partnered with chef Celestino Drago to open the 9,500-square-foot Drago Centro, is working on a new project called The Factory Kitchen, a 3,000-square-foot Italian restaurant set to open in late September …”

The Arts District Demands an Audience
by Julie Nakashima, Real Estate BisNow, June 27, 2013

“… Central City East Association executive director Estela Lopez discussed the recent Superior Court decision to shut down the Arts District BID, which her org administered … The BID is on a path to be reinstated so that the district can again enjoy the same public space management and benefits as the rest of Downtown.”

How Bill Chait Became the Most Important Non-Chef in the Downtown Dining Scene
by Richard Guzmán, Downtown News, July 22, 2013

“… Downtown is probably the most important restaurant and social market right now in Los Angeles and it’ll arguably define Los Angeles in a way that was never done before by any area in the city, said Chait.”

Cronut Knockoffs Finally Hit L.A. at Semi Sweet Bakery and Frances Bakery”
by Kat Odell, Eater LA, June 28, 2013

“… It was only a matter of time before LA bakers decided to take a stab at the cronut, a hybrid croissant meets donut…”

Guerilla Atelier’s DTLA Pop-Up Sticking Around for Good
by Natalie Alcala, Racked L.A., June 26, 2013

“…I’ve never met so many beautifully engaging and interesting people,” Guerilla founder Carl Louisville (aka the “unofficial mayor of Rodeo Drive”) explains. “This is a real community with deep compassion for who, what and why something comes into this community. The community is asking ‘Are you for real, and does what you are doing fit with what is here already and for what we want in the community, and for where we see our community going?’…”

A Royal Lesson
by Carl Louisville, Cultural Weekly, July 17, 2013

Unofficial Mayor of Rodeo Drive Opens DTLA Pop-Up
by Natalie Alcala, Racked L.A., May 22, 2013

Guerilla Galleries/Guerilla Atelier
821 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles 90012

NEW Arts District Community Calendar by Downtown Muse

ANNOUNCING: I have introduced NEW features to my blog to help manage a growing number of requests to post event announcements and neighborhood news. In addition to weekly events that I select to attend and promote for my new “Meet Me There” eblasts and posts, other events can now be posted and viewed on the site at

Got a community event planned for the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles or something that might be of interest to local residents and visitors to our neighborhood? Now you can post them online here by yourself to be considered for inclusion. Submit your event by clicking HERE. Be sure to upload a photo, graphic, or logo as no events will be considered or posted without images. Once reviewed and if approved, your event will be listed in the Downtown Muse calendar and shared with our audience.

Questions? Send me an email at Melissa Richardson Banks aka Downtown Muse.

BENEFIT ART AUCTION: Lance van Gils, 1990-2013

Lance van Gils (11/24/90 to 7/11/13)
Sunday, August 4
3:00 PM to 7:00 PM

923 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles 90013
INFO: (323) 715-1331

The little boy with the goofy grin who used to help me bake cookies in my loft is gone. Lance van Gils grew up to be an amazing young man, and tragically, his life ended short sometime on Thursday night, July 11, 2013. Coincidentally, I was on the 1st Street Bridge earlier that night taking sunset photos of Downtown Los Angeles. It was only after I was informed of his passing that I recalled I was there … I wonder if I had stayed just a while longer — could this tragic event have been prevented?

Lance, the son of Art Share LA workshop teacher and local designer Christina Borraez, was discovered the morning of July 12, 2013 in the Los Angeles River at the bottom of the 1st Street Bridge. His life tragically and unexpectedly ended sometime the night before as he was walking home after an evening that included working out at the gym and hanging with friends at local art galleries—a police investigation is underway.

Lance was a sweet and creative soul who spent most of his 22 years growing up in the Arts District with his mom and his sister Camille. If you knew Lance and/or his family, you can leave messages of support on their Facebook Group page. A memorial service is expected to take place sometime in August.

In lieu of flowers, donations for the family, including artwork for the benefit art auction, can be arranged by contacting Patricia Mitchell at (323) 715-1331. Donations may also be made online at Lance van Gils Memorial Fund.