And there it was, what seemed like the perfect solution to all that troubled the Historic Core. To aid with the resurrection of the seemingly forgotten strip of land that separated Skid Row from the rest of Downtown’s booming economy, Gallery Row and the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk worked like a charm. In roughly 10 years, thanks to the visionary developers, artists, gallery owners and independent event planners, the Historic Core of Downtown, once a no man’s land, decorated with burning trashcans, trash cans and mirroring Skid Row, had become the #1 destination on the 2nd Thursday of the month for over 25,000 visitors from around the world.
But as the crowds grew, so did the bill, starting with street clean up, removal of vandalism, policing and a half million dollar settlement to the family of Marcello Vasquez, the 2 month old baby, who died due to injuries he suffered in a horrific accident at the corner of 4th and Spring in July of 2011.
The beginning of the end for the Downtown Art Walk as we knew it, as controversy swirled over efforts to calm the event, ensure public safety, keep protestors from insighting the police and continuous disagreements over just who had the right to capitalize off of the event.
More trouble than it was worth to many, most organizers threw in the towel, the Downtown Art Walk non-profit focused on their own events, gallery owners facing higher rents closed their doors and the large crowds stopped coming.
In Spring of 2014, after petitioning the City, the first permit in over 3 years for an open-air parcel inside the Art Walk footprint was granted to ART APPETITE LA.
The event ran successfully for four months, gracing the pages of LA Magazine, but when it shut its doors, the independent artisans once encased in a parking lot with electricity, waste facilities and crowd support were forced to migrate across the street to the outside gates of Spring Park. Then there were some, now there are many.
In the past two years, independent artisans have been flocking back to the Downtown Art Walk setting up in spaces that haven’t been roped off by caution tape, in hopes of sustaining their livelihoods during the Walk. Without designated waste facilities or generators for lighting, they have managed to create an a dimly-lit epicenter of their own and have kept the pulse of Art Walk going on the path leading to the corner of 4th and Spring. For this stretch of the Walk, the main focus of the event is on the starving artist, and they are being supported by the crowd without having to pay the high vending fees once asked of them.
The Skid Row Drumming Brothers
These guys have been beating drums during the Downtown Art Walk since the early days and they have no plans for stopping. They have also migrated from darker streets on Main to a high traffic area on 6th and Spring. Some are veterans, others musicians ready to keep timing as thousands of Art Walkers march by.
The Religious Ones
The Hare Krishna Mantra is another staple of the Downtown Art Walk that’s hard to miss. They have taken up post just south of 5th and Spring, about 15 in number, and they have to be the happiest non-intoxicated group among the night’s regular attendees. Oh, and Jesus has been seen at Art Walk in recent months too.
The Food Truck Courts
ART APPETITE LA took over the food truck court on 3rd and Spring in October of 2014 with the intention of raising money for various Downtown charities making the pages of LA TIMES and bringing the Downtown Art Walk worldwide attention inside of an article published by National Geographic.
A year later, ART APPETITE would establish a second location on 7th & Spring with a separate band of food trucks and independent artisans willing to use their Art Walk space to help generate money for various charities. Across from the Hive Gallery, the location attracts all ethnicities and socio-economic groups from around the globe.
Non-profits are welcome to set up and collect donations. This week, END MALARIA NOW will have access to thousands of Art Walkers willing to make donations and learn about their cause as they enjoy low-amp music and a variety of exotic gourmet recipes brought to the Downtown Art Walk by Richeeze Melts, Ridges Churros, Pinch of Flavor, Fruit Frenzy, Green Truck, Curry Wurst Truck and many others.
END MALARIA NOW!
Every 60 seconds, a child under 5 years of age dies from malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. While millions turn a blind eye to the suffering, a few have stayed after seeing the devastation to face the epidemic head on, fighting the zombified mosquitoes that infect the blood of innocent African children while they are sleeping.
The first time Richard Harding, founding member of End Malaria Now, walked into a hospital in Kenya, seeing all of the sick and dying children who were infected with malaria, he immediately knew he had to make a difference to prevent the death of innocent children. As soon as he returned to America, he founded the organization End Malaria Now.
With End Malaria Now, all of the donations go towards the purchase and distribution of insecticide-protected bed nets, coaching Community Outreach Specialists to work hard year-round and raising awareness and funds to end malaria within our lifetime. Each Each year, End Malaria Now takes funds and uses them to distribute bed nets in a region of Africa that has been greatly affected by malaria. This year they plan to raise enough funds in order to take 30,000 bed nets to Rwanda and Sierra Leone in 2017.
During their distribution trips, their team strives to be as hands-on as possible, hand delivering every bed net to each service location and assisting in hanging the nets themselves along with other volunteers. They also get to know the people at the locations that they service, putting themselves at risk and doing whatever else it takes to save lives.
The team takes every precaution before each trip, which includes taking malaria tablets that boost their immune systems to protect against infection, applying insect repellant and using the bed nets themselves when they are sleeping at night.
Now, for the first time in Downtown Art Walk history, you you can help save the life of a child in Africa. During the Downtown Art Walk, stop by Art Appetite LA, make a donation and get involved with the cause. 712 S Spring Street, July 14th, 2016 from 5pm to 11pm.