A dingy, forgotten space transformed by art

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From blighted underpass…

..to vibrant art space

…to vibrant art space

Out-of-sight spaces often harbor the unsavory aspects of a city, best overlooked. But from 2006 to 2013, the underpass on the fringe of downtown near the LA River was the site of a glorious re-invention, one that included all manner of art and people from all walks of life. “God’s most destitute place on earth” as nearby graffiti declared it, was, at least temporarily, transformed. Lauren Bon’s Metabolic Studios was the instigator of this innovative effort, turning the space into art, to try to create conversation around “what can we do to change for the better those alleys,” says author Jeremy Rosenberg.

It would have been easy to drive over the Spring Street bridge, all those years of the experiment, and have no idea what was happening beneath it. But writer Jeremy Rosenberg brings the project to life, celebrating and honoring what was known as “Under Spring” in an inventive oral history called Under Spring: Voices + Art + Los Angeles. He was part of the crew of Lauren Bon’s Metabolic Studios.

Rosenberg and I stood adjacent to the spot, now cordoned off as the city plans to widen the bridge, and talked about what happened there, and what it says about the city and its so-called “interstitial places.”

The author, his book, and the place it chronicles
Author Jeremy Rosenberg, his book, and the place it chronicles (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

This post has been updated.