Downtown LA Art Walk
As DTLA has transformed and the once-avoided section of the city has morphed into a superbly walkable haven of culture, it’s drawn folks from their luxury apartments in Los Angeles’ other sectors to come and partake in some rather interesting events. One such offering is the Downtown LA Art Walk, a staple of the revitalized downtown started in 2004.
It encompasses galleries from across the downtown area’s many neighborhoods -- Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo, Gallery Row -- and regularly brings in upwards of 10,000 curious walkers. What’s the deal with this unique-but-intriguing tour throughout the city’s art spaces? Read on, as we tell you what you’ll need to know about the organization, people, and walk itself.
What In The World Is An Art Walk?
First things first, we’ll need to define some terms. The Art Walk FAQ uses some rather specific wording to describe their unusual phenomenon:
“The Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk is a free, self-guided walking tour located between 4th and 7th and Spring and Main along with galleries, restaurants and bars in several surrounding blocks of Downtown Los Angeles from 6:00pm to 10:00pm.”
It started a small affair, a handful of galleries centered around Gallery Row, in an attempt to convince LA residents from all across the city to come downtown and see the sights. Since its founding in 2004, the Art Walk has grown into a titanic community effort known throughout the totality of Los Angeles, encompassing some 50 galleries and 25,000 monthly guests.
As a self-guided tour, few experiences are typical, and the overall vibe is very freeform. Still, they’ve taken the time to describe what they might consider a normal day at Art Walk, which includes arriving early to saunter through the galleries, viewing the exhibitions and chatting with fellow aficionados about the talent and meaning of the works on display.
More visitors, they say, “descend upon the area to meet up with friends and savor the local experience” as the evening rolls on, and the crowds of attendees will often get their fill at local shops, eateries, and entertainment outlets that litter the thriving community.
The Art Walk takes place on the second Thursday of every month (rain or shine), though, specific gallery opening times can vary. To help keep potential attendees in the know, the Art Walk provides a list of some of their most popular participants, which includes:
- Amber Goldhammer Studio
- Andrea Bogdan Studio
- Avenue Des Arts
- Bertaart Studio Gallery
- Beta Main
- Carol Cirillo Stanley Studio Gallery
- Contemporary Gallery
- DAC Gallery
- David Lovejoy Studio
- Diego Cardoso Studio
- Dove Biscuit Studio
- Fine Arts Building
- Fold Gallery
- Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts
- Hive Gallery
- Hotchkis Gallery
- Little Tokyo Art Complex
- Liz Huston Studio
- Lobby Gallery
- Mia Gallery
- Miguel Osuna Studio
- Please Do Not Enter
- Pop Obscure Gallery
- Ren Gallery
- Robert Reynolds Studio
- Spring Arts Gallery
- Take My Picture
- The Salon
- These Days
As you can see, the many galleries who are a part of Art Walk are a diverse fellowship, covering different styles, mediums, and locations around Downtown:
“The Downtown Art Walk is located mainly in the Historic Core between 4th and 9th and Spring and Main Streets. However, the galleries and restaurants spread beyond to the Fashion District, South Park and the Financial District... The Art Walk Lounge is located at 634 S. Spring St. at the MALDEF building.”
While trying to cover every gallery on the list would be infeasible, learning more about the Art Walk Lounge is certainly something we can do. The Art Walk team describes it as “part visitor center, part gallery, and part artisan market.” A kind of jumping off point for all things Art Walk.
Through the Art Walk Lounge and the Art Walk Non-Profit Organization, this space provides for:
The Downtown Art Mart: “A Monthly microenterprise incubator for artists and small businesses to generate sales.”
The Downtown Art Walk Internship Program: “A raining program for youth and adults who have a passion for community, the arts, nonprofit administration, media, and leadership.”
The Youth Education And Community Art Program: “A program that brings local art experiences and instruction to underserved populations.”
So, it’s about more than simply walking around and looking at cool art (though that is a central part of the experience). The Art Walk team is dedicated to helping and giving back to the community, fostering the creative spirit that lives within all, and helping individuals reach their potential.
Speaking of the core team at Art Walk, it consists of four members:
* Qathryn Brehm, Executive Director
* Nat George, Curation and Development
* Jose Navarrete, Marketing Coordinator
* Lara Dildy, Special Projects
All are professionals within the art world, and each brings their own specialties to the table. Qathryn Brehm, for instance, is an expert at the decorative arts, with deep knowledge of business and community management. Curator Nat George has developed a penchant for programming, collaborating, and setting up exhibitions. Jose Navarrete, a photographer, serves as the marketing genius for the group, while Lara Dildy handles the group’s online content and event promotion.
For those that want to display art to be viewed during Art Walk, a conversation with the local galleries is a must. As they all operate independently from the Art Walk Organization, and, as a consequence, “have varying procedures for reviewing potential artists.” For art to be displayed in Art Walk-curated spaces, however, like the Art Walk Lounge, it’s a different story. You can fill out a submission form, which their curators will review and consider for future opportunities.
High Time To Take A Trip From Those Luxury Apartments In Los Angeles
Not a long excursion, mind you. Getting to DTLA from places like The Madrid isn’t a particularly trying task, and once a fun-filled day of touring fine art and communing with fellow art enthusiasts is through, you can rest assured in the knowledge that you’ll be returning to a superbly spacious and aesthetically pleasing spot of your own. Check it out, and find out why this has taken off as one of LA’s finest communities.