How can Laguna Beach make housing more affordable to artists?

Hosted by

Laguna Beach, long known as an “art colony,” is slowly pricing artists out of their live/work spaces. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Since the early 20th century, Laguna Beach has been known as an artist colony, but rising housing prices and rapid gentrification have priced most artists out of the city. Now the City Council is looking for a solution, hoping to find private equity solutions to a public problem.

“The joke used to be that the billionaires gentrified the millionaires, and now even more money's coming in. But as recently as … 25 years ago, you could still, as an artist, rent a cheap place … and make a living. … Those days are long, long gone,” says LA Times Columnist Gustavo Arellano. “Really the only days when you have that old-time feel is during the summer, when all the artists come in to these established festivals or pop up. …  Now the City Council is finally thinking, ‘Oh, yeah, maybe we should try … make it affordable for the next generation of artists … so art can still be part of our day-to-day life.”

He explains that two City Council members have formed a subcommittee to study the issue, and he foresees tax breaks for developers who will build new structures, including affordable units specifically for artists.