Artists may work in isolation, but many find the creative process is stimulated by a community. Dense urban neighborhoods can produce cross pollination, and even collaboration. But there’s a pattern developing in Los Angeles — just as it did in the Bay Area, New York City, and other places around the country. Artists gather where rents are cheap and space is plentiful. Then the neighborhood gets “discovered”— and the rent begins to go up. From Santa Monica to Venice to Highland Park — and now the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles — the painters, sculptors, musicians and dancers who made those and other neighborhoods centers of artistic creativity can’t afford to live or work there anymore. After the first coffee house, it’s not long before rents go up, lofts become condos and gentrification is followed by large scale development. We hear how hard it is for young, mid-career and even established artists to stay in the places they put on the map.
Photo: Downtown Los Angeles factory converted into condos (Rod Ramsey)