Art Comes Alive in Downtown Art Walk

Ken Malate

More than 40 museums and galleries opened their doors to Downtown Los Angeles visitors on Thursday to celebrate the Downtown Art Walk, an event that showcases prized art works from famed and/or local artists.

The Art Walk is a free self-guided tour of the many art exhibition venues in Downtown L.A. A free shuttle loops throughout Gallery Row on Art Walk nights from 6 to 10 p.m.

The bus is an artwork itself, a renovated 1940s bus that possesses distinctive qualities. The shuttle provides a loop service along Spring and Main Streets from 2nd to 8th streets. The shuttle is hosted by Kim Cooper and Richard Schave of Esotouric, who serve as curators in the shuttle transforming the bus into a moving performance venue called “The Hippodrome.”

Thousands of people flock to Downtown L.A. the second Thursday of every month to see artworks hanging inside the participating galleries.

Artists often thematically capture the emotions of the time through their work. This year, it’s hard not to notice the theme of politics, economy and nature.

The elections are certainly hard to miss, especially in an event like this. California is a “blue” state, and it was evident with all the Obama supporters and representatives about. Every corner and cross street housed a representative that either asked people for donations or were asking people to register. There were also galleries that housed representatives against Proposition 8, the measure that would ban gay marriages in California.

“I definitely dig innovation. We live in interesting times with the election coming up, we face issues about gay marriage, the economy and finances,” said art enthusiast Donald Britton.

“I’m wondering how artists, who to me are the mirror of society, how do they express all the uncertainties that are happening now and how do they envision the future? I look for these answers through their work.”
The streets were booming with art enthusiasts lurking and searching for the next Banksy or Warhol. The participating galleries span the outstretched corners of Gallery Row.

“I love the art in this place. I live Downtown and I’ve met some of the artists, it’s one of the perks of working for a gallery” said Peter Romberg, an artist from Bert Green Fine Art.

“Currently, I really love this Dame Darcy collection we have. I’m really into comics a lot, and this is just good stuff.”
Everywhere one looked, the streets were filled with artworks from freelance artists who inhabited the sidewalks using it as their own personal galleries to show off their own collections.

One artist in particular stood out from the crowd.

“I’ve been working on 13 pieces since this morning,” said sidewalk artist, Flewnt. “This one here, I call this my denim piece,” he points to a piece of wood heavily painted with abstract renderings of lines and patterns reminiscent of a pair of denim jeans. “I call these my babies.”
Along with the visual pleasures that surrounded the city, there were also many street musicians livening up the night. From eclectic bongo beats, to smooth jazzy tunes, it’s hard not to enjoy the ambiance that they were delivering.

“This is actually my first L.A. artwork and I have to say that I really am enjoying myself,” said Raul Sanchez. “I really like the digital pieces in this
gallery [LACDA].”

The next Downtown Art Walk will be on Nov. 13.