Monday, August 31, 2009

Boyle Heights Arts District: An Artistic Place to Call Home

I encourage you to read this great article in the L.A. Times about an effort put forth by a group of Boyle Heights’ artists and me to create an Arts District in Boyle Heights. After seeing an organic blossoming of local art and theater at CASA 0101, First Street Studios Gallery, as well as the Brooklyn and Boyle Gallery, I asked UCLA Professor Leo Estrada if he and his Urban Planning grad students could come up with a plan. Their comprehensive, community based report provided the groundwork for the efforts currently underway. But it’s really the artists and the community that is driving this effort. And Boyle Heights is going through quite a revitalization that will no doubt improve lives for the better. The Mendez Learning Center will open this fall. The Gold Line is almost completed, and Mariachi Plaza will also soon reopen. Boyle Heights has a rich history in the arts and culture, and these renovations bring a positive infusion to the community that will improve the corridor and really bring Boyle Heights into the 21st century. The collective of Boyle Heights artists that formed A.R.T.E.S. (Artist Revitalizing The East Side) are working very closely with my office to ensure that community needs are met first and the organic feel of this revitalization remains intact. It is an exciting time for our community, and as a resident and the Councilmember for the district, I am proud to see Boyle Heights doing more to offer opportunities to local community artists.