Amid Gentrification, LA’s Arts District Residents Push For Affordable Housing For Artists
June 21, 2021 Joseph Pimentel, Bisnow Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Arts District is starting to miss something: artists. With the Arts District undergoing a massive transformation from an artists haven to a vibrant trendy cultural neighborhood destination, many of the artists that once called this place home have been displaced or evicted due to high rents and gentrification. For the Arts District to continue to thrive and maintain its art reputation, neighborhood advocates and some developers agree, the place needs to keep its artists.
Neighborhood advocates are working with the city and developers to place an affordable housing component to keep artists in the Arts District.
“Part of a having a diverse long-term sustainable community is having a mix of both affordable and market-rate housing,” Trammell Crow Senior Managing Director Brad Cox said at Bisnow’s Neighborhood Series: The Arts District event Tuesday.
In a separate interview, Los Angeles Downtown Arts District Space co-founder Jonathan Jerald said longtime Arts District residents are concerned about the displacement of artists that have made the neighborhood what it is today.
LADADSpace is a nonprofit that supports artists and activities that promote arts in the Arts District. He rattled off the artists that started their career in the Arts District, ranging from visual artists to musicians to actors. Beck and Red Hot Chili Peppers once performed there.
Well-known actors Forest Whitaker and Jenna Fischer once called it home, and artists George Herms, Paul McCarthy and “Dances With Wolves” writer Michael Blake lived in the area, Jerald said.
“Maintaining arts and culture here are so important to us,” Jerald said. “Unfortunately, many are being displaced due to gentrification.” Jerald and his neighbors began a grass-roots organization, Affordable Housing for Artists, after a prominent building was bought out, displacing many longtime artists.