October 21, 2011 – I’ve been volunteering for Downtown Art Walk, Los Angeles since July 2011. I attend Art Walk and visit a couple of galleries each month. For each gallery, I gauge the pulse of the visitors and patrons and talk to the gallery owners. I document my observations and input from gallery owners for Art Walk. The purpose is for the improvement of Art Walk as a community event and to develop a relationship with the galleries and the city of L.A. in hopes to obtain the necessary resources for Art Walk and Gallery Row.
This month’s Art Walk was on October 13th. Two friends of mine, Patricia and Andora, accompanied me to the monthly event. This was their first time attending Art Walk and taking the train. Although they visited downtown Los Angeles many times before, their visits involved running around doing errands, attending meetings or driving through the area. Art Walk was a first time for them to stop and stay for a couple of hours and walk around downtown, specifically Gallery Row, and take in the changes that are occurring in downtown Los Angeles.
After we visited some galleries where I made my observations and spoke to the gallery owners, the three of us walked back up on Spring Street. Andora and Patricia were amazed how much downtown L.A. has changed. Before, people worked in downtown but once five o’ clock came, people went home. If they wanted to have a night out, it was elsewhere, not downtown. The area has come a long way to become an active place for a diverse group of people to not only work or hang out in downtown L.A., but also to live in. Downtown has added a number of apartments, condos and lofts that have been newly built or converted (thus preserving the downtown’s historic buildings) throughout the area. Patricia and Andora saw these changes during Art Walk. Patricia commented how she feels safe walking around the area. She also noticed the change in the crowd. It was a diverse group of people ranging in age, economic, and ethnic/cultural backgrounds. In addition, most of the people we encountered that evening were professionals, relaxing, walking around, visiting the galleries, having dinner, and walking their dogs. We walked by an office on a corner and its windows had advertisements for lofts and condos for sale in downtown for $600,000.
Andora and Patricia enjoyed their time at Art Walk and exploring Gallery Row. Andora, who enjoys taking photographs, brought her camera and took photos of Spring Street.
The galleries we visited that evening were the Art Walk Lounge, where we watched an artist in process of painting his work inside the main room. Upstairs, the American Friends Service Committee: Quaker Values in Action hosted an exhibition showcasing art works created by high school students in the community. The students created paintings that centered on the social and political issues of today. Some paintings expressed concerns about the environment. Other paintings were about social injustice. Anyone can come and view the art works and buy a painting. The money raised went towards the purchase of canvases for the students so they can paint like professional artists. We also visited Mujo Gallery, the Robert Reynolds Gallery, Gloria Delson Contemporary Art Gallery, Ground Floor Gallery and Cafe, Norbertellen Gallery, and White Gloss Gallery.
Before leaving, I took them to see Clark’s Gallery, a gallery showcasing the owner’s work in photography. They met the owner and complimented his photography. All three of us bought some of Clark’s postcards and cards.
While walking back to the Pershing Square train stop, we saw City Hall all lighted up. We observed some of the street signs realizing we were not too far from the Walk Disney Hall. With various activities, landmarks to visit and a multi-cultural atmosphere, Patricia commented how downtown L.A. feels like a local getaway destination.