If you've been following me for a while you probably know that I love street art. It's one of the most fascinating art mediums in my opinion. I've talked before about the intimacy and intensity of emotions it evokes for me. I've even shared that I believe street art is one of the primary reasons to visit San Francisco. All this talk about street art got me thinking...I don't really know much about the Downtown LA street art scene.
So, camera in hand with my buddy, Paula, I set off to explore the ever-changing Downtown LA street art scene around the DTLA Arts District. After doing a bit of online research, I decided to focus on a 3-block area bordered by E 3rd ST, E 4 Pl, Traction Ave and Merrick St. This area is pretty easy to access from the 110 Freeway (take the 4th St exit, stay on 4th until to reach 4th Pl) and seemed the most accessible in terms of viewing the street art.
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We decided to go pretty early on a Sunday morning. Early mornings require breakfast. And breakfast requires delicious, homemade pastries. My research told me that Pie Hole on Traction was the place to go for breakfast in this area. Lucky for us it was right in the center of it all. We arrived around 10:30am, right before the rush. We easily found seating and soon were face to face with some of the best pastries I've ever had. And, yes, we did have pie for breakfast...and it was delicious.
Full of tasty, buttery goodness (and coffee), we set out on foot to begin exploring the area. We were instantly struck by the vivid colors of the art works. The techniques used to create some of these masterpieces are second to none. Many had powerful social messages that struck an emotional cord with us, both of us being social workers.
Some of my favorites of the day were the ones that caught us by surprise. We'd hoped to find some of the more popular pieces, like the one by Shepherd Fiery on E 3rd St. But I wasn't expecting such a rich experience to tell you the truth. Although it wasn't as organized as San Francisco's Mission, the Downtown LA street art scene seems to be thriving.
Pieces seem to be everywhere we turned, and we only covered a small portion of the Arts District. We could easily have walked for hours and found more and more great examples of the Downtown LA street art scene. I can see why people are drawn to the area. There are new condos and apartments going up everywhere. Like San Francisco, seeing the growth and development left me feeling a bit on edge because I know what it means for the other residents of Downtown LA.
For decades Downtown LA has been home to Los Angeles' homeless residents. Marginally housed, marginally fed and marginally managed, the homeless of Los Angeles occupied Skid Row, an area adjacent to the DTLA Arts District, and the surrounding blocks with little intrusion.
But recent development in the Skid Row and Arts District area has begun to drastically change their habitation and their access to services. As the Arts District (to the east), Little Tokyo (to the north), the Theater District (to the west) and the Fashion District (to the south) continue to grow and develop, Skid Row begins to shrink.
After seeing the work of the street artists, I couldn't help but feel that the plight of the homeless influence the artists on the regular.
After observing the amazing works of art we found ourselves thirsty. Lucky for us we stumbled on the Arts District Brewing Co. We knew immediately after we walked that we were in for a good time! Great beer, fun games, and chill atmosphere made it the best place to spend a Sunday Funday with my gal pal.
We enjoyed trying the beer flight, your choice of four of the house brews. I'm an IPA-kinda girl, so I quickly chose the hoppiest of the hoppy beers. A few games of skee-ball later we were totally relaxed and chatty. I couldn't think of a better way to end our day of exploring the Downtown LA street art scene.
Looking for more of a guided experience? Check out the DTLA Arts District walking tour to get your very own up-close-and-personal experience with this amazing street art.
Have you ever explored the streets of the Downtown LA Arts District? What did you find? What do you love about street art? I'd love to hear from you! Use the comment field below to drop me a line.
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If you need more Downtown LA Street Art in your life, then head over to the nearby Fashion District to peep these beauties! Find "Upon Reflection" by Fin DAC and Angelina Christina on the corner of Winston and Los Angeles Streets. And just up the street you'll find a lovely Audrey Hepburn tribute sure to please the selfie taker in your crew.
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