Art Share L.A.

For over a decade, Art Share L.A. has provided 30-affordable live/work units in the booming Downtown Arts District, supporting hundreds of artists including Grammy Award-winning DJ, Sonny Moore (more commonly known as Skrillex). In the mid-2000’s, the facilities thrived as a center for at-risk youth—servings over 300 students per year. During this time frame, Art Share L.A. created its FACT program (Families and Communities Together). This program, created in collaboration with Stevenson Middle School in Boyle Heights and the LA County Probation Department, has helped families in crises for 8 years—pairing trained social workers with families in creative and expressive environments to explore conscious and constructive problem-solving skills. The economic downturn of 2008 hit Art Share L.A. in an almost devastating manner. The organization and its management struggled to make ends meet. By the summer of 2011, all staff had been cut and the agency was operating on a shoe-string budget. Property buy-out offers were on the table, but the new board of directors was dedicated to keeping Art Share L.A. owned and operated by and for the community. The new directors, under guidance of city planner, Elizabeth Peterson, brought the facilities into a new era, complete with new paint job and new staff. In the summer of 2012, Art Share L.A. ventured on a partnership that would bridge the worlds of outdoor advertising and street art—two sectors who until recently have rivaled for public space and the rights to it. In March of 2013, Art Share L.A. (in collaboration with Casey Zoltan of Known Gallery and 15 of the cities most renowned street artists) launched the second installment of the project. Since inception in 2012, more than two-dozen street artists have legally showcased on billboards through a rotating citywide gallery exhibit. Currently, Art Share L.A. is pursuing the creation of on going immersive and interactive art experiences through digital augment reality platforms like Aurasma in partnership with ceramic street artist, Zenka. We will create interactive, augmented reality ceramic art installations in the Arts District.


1 Submitted Idea

  • 2013 Grants Challenge

    Creative Placemaking in Downtown L.A.

    With your support, Art Share L.A. will rebuild its organizational plan and restructure its culture to adopt a model conducive to creative placemaking, serving as a case study in the advancements of mixed-use creative live/work centers throughout Los Angeles. As defined by the National Endowment for The Arts, creative placemaking is “when partners from the public, private, non-profit and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city or region around cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.” This process detailed in the NEA’s report on creative placemaking occurred organically and un-institutionalized in the eastern outskirts of downtown Los Angeles during the mid-80’s. Sandwiched between Skid Row, Little Tokyo and the Los Angeles River, artists and creative individuals set up shop and home in vacated warehouses. As the economic and cultural impact of creativity on the neighborhood began to show, more formalized arts organization and institutions began to develop—Art Share L.A. among them. The industrial warehouse area outside Downtown was renamed the Arts District and the neighborhood experienced a major demographic shift: more creative individuals began to inhabit the area, creating a flourishing neighborhood of art, music, culture, and true autonomy. In a typical pattern of gentrification, the migration of wealth and infrastructure development attracted to the area began displacing the creative individuals that had worked to make the community inhabitable, and the informal centers that housed the creative placemakers began to disappear. Property and land developers set their sites on reclaiming the neighborhood, and in a period of 10 years, property values sky-rocketed from an estimated $.25/sq. ft. to over $2/sq. ft. for newly modeled “artists lofts”, in reality simply luxury apartments with creative branding affixed. The need for buildings like Art Share L.A. in the downtown area is high, as is the risk that they will suffer the same fate of many informal art and cultural centers in the area. Our goal is to create a new model of community living, fitting the creative placemaking definition; through education and community engagement we will work to create new live/work centers throughout Los Angeles County. Our first step in this process is rebranding and re-establishing the organizational structure at Art Share L.A. to create a sustainable and equitable community-run model. The second is to produce a public resource document to those seeking to create similar live/work artist run centers. This project will impact Arts and Cultural Vitality by creating immediate opportunities for meaningful engagement in the arts—leading to long-term sustainability. During the 7-month project, Art Share L.A. will create: • 6-10 part-time entry-level and supplemental employment opportunities • A Work-Exchange Program for presenters without access to capital • A formalized Program Board for communal review and assessment of proposed classes, events and partnerships • A team of consultants to work with the staff, Program Board and Board of Directors to assist with coherency in areas of the marketing, development and assessment processes necessary for sustaining the model Projected long-term benefits of the project will include a sustainable, accessible live-work/multi-use facility, as defined by the governing principles of creative placemaking, capable of housing and supporting artists in their professional development, now and in the future. Additionally, sustained activity works to enhance the overall quality and livability of neighborhoods surrounding downtown Los Angeles, most specifically, the Arts District. Art Share L.A. will support its local artists while enhancing the quality of life throughout downtown Los Angeles.