The newfound popularity of Los Angeles as a cultural, artistic, and tech capital has led to struggles around affordable housing, gentrification, and displacement. In Boyle Heights, this has pitted artists and galleries against neighborhood activists, who paint them as harbingers of unwelcome change, to be followed by exclusive cafés, restaurants, and high-end residential developments.
Just across the river from this conflict, however, artists themselves are feeling the squeeze. Tenants of two long-running artist enclaves in the city’s Arts District are being threatened with eviction by the buildings’ new owners. To raise awareness of their situation, artist Michael Parker and other members of the LA Tenants Union are organizing an eviction parade, which will begin at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center Plaza. Armed with banners and floats made at a recent workshop, the parade will travel to the ALMLA, Parker’s home and studio for the last 16 years, and 800 Traction, one of LA’s first artists-in-residence buildings. (The 1981 Artists-in-Residence ordinance legalized live-work spaces for artists in formerly industrial buildings, paving the way for the area’s official designation as the Arts District in 1990.) Exhibitions at each location will feature the work of dozens of artists who have lived and worked there.
The parade is part of this year’s Common Field Convening, a four-day event that brings together hundreds of arts organizations to explore the field of artist-run and artist-focused spaces and projects. It will directly follow a panel discussion on Evictions, Artists and Displacement, featuring Parker, Nancy Uyemura of 800 Traction, artist Robby Herbst, artist and curator Dulce Soledad Ibarra, and writer Julian Smith-Newman.
When: Saturday, November 4, 5–6:30pm
Where: Japanese American Cultural & Community Center Plaza (244 S. San Pedro St., Downtown, Los Angeles)
More info here.
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