Among one of the most defining neighborhoods of Downtown Los Angeles, the Arts District is full of industrial buildings that are now converted to modern lofts, and offers a growing selection of newly constructed lofts for lease as well. #artsdistrict #dtla
In the late 60’s and early 70’s, a handful of determinedly urban-minded artists saw opportunity in the empty warehouses and began colonizing the area, converting former industrial spaces into roomy working studios, renting space for as little as a nickel a square foot and carving out living quarters, thus inventing the concept of live-work spaces. The City of Los Angeles acknowledged the reality of the situation and in 1981 passed the Artist in Residence ordinance, which allowed artists to legally live and work in industrial areas of Downtown Los Angeles.
Art galleries, cafes and performance venues sprang up as the residential population grew, and although they are mostly a transient phenomenon, they have assumed mythical status among the urban pioneer population. Al’s Bar on Hewitt just off Traction, in particular, served up groundbreaking punk rock from the mid-70s through the beginning of the new century, introducing generations of Angelenos to dozens of emerging groups (among them, Pearl Jam). The Atomic Cafe on 1st Street at Alameda was a popular artist haunt in the late 60s and early 70s. Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), created pioneering post-modern exhibitions at its gallery space on Industrial Street.
Today the Arts District remains the home of artists (though fewer starving ones), arts enterprises and many employed in L.A’s vast film and television industry. The celebrated Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), now resides in the 110 year old, quarter mile-long former Santa Fe freight depot that stretches along Santa Fe between Third and 4th Streets. SCI-Arc’s reputation as an experimental anti-establishment school of architecture is a perfect fit with the community’s somewhat rebellious self-image. The school’s student population helps preserve the areas youthful character, and has added some custom touches to local loft apartments such as Newberry Lofts.
- Gallery Lofts
- Barn Lofts
- Beacon Lofts
- Barker Block
- Molino Street
- Toy Warehouse
- Toy Factory
- Biscuit Company
From 2nd Street to 7th Street between Alameda Street and the LA River, the eastern edge of Downtown is totally walkable. Ths is the Arts District, where the graffiti is the art! In the 1970s, the old, industrial warehouses in this district, many of them railroad buildings, were converted into artist lofts for both work spaces and, once the AIR ordinance was passed, legal living spaces. Now gaining in community rich in character, socially conscious boutiques and some of the best restaurants and bars. The area features an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and galleries. The district has some of the best example of lofts, including:
Barker Block lofts (510 S. Hewitt St. | 530 S. Hewitt St.), Biscuit Company Lofts (BISCUIT COMPANY LOFTS FOR SALE), Gallery Lofts (120 S. Hewitt St. | 130 S. Hewitt St.), Molino Street Lofts (MOLINO STREET LOFTS FOR SALE), Toy Factory Lofts, (TOY FACTORY LOFTS FOR SALE), Toy Warehouse Lofts, (TOY WAREHOUSE LOFTS FOR SALE).
LA Art Walk:
The free, self-guided, public art phenomenon known as The Downtown Art Walk brings together art lovers and community friends to the ever evolving downtown Los Angeles. With exciting and unique offerings around every corner, downtown celebrates the arts each and every month on the 2nd Thursday. Please refer to your calendar for specific dates. Hours vary by gallery, but can typically range from Noon – 10PM.
Many of The Downtown Art Walk activities take shape in and around the galleries predominantly on Spring and Main streets between 2nd and 9th streets. However, there is a plethora of art related events and openings, activities, and special programming that take place all over downtown.
For the true art buyers and fans, arriving early offers a more relaxing stroll through the different galleries and art exhibits. As the evening progresses, more visitors descend on the area to meet up with friends and savor the local experience. Visitors and local downtowners can often be found patronizing the outcropping of local shopping, dining and entertainment establishments that have created the thriving, vibrant community
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