The ‘Festival for All Skid Row Artists’ in Gladys Park is an afternoon of activities that identify artists in all genres who live and work on Skid Row. Neighborhood artists perform and LAPD collects data and digitally captures art, writing, song and performances of neighborhood residents to create an artists’ registry and an archive of their work. All participating artists receive a pair of yellow shades, with the inscription “Skid Row Artist: menacing cool” imprinted on the left temple. The ‘Festival for All Skid Row Artists’ gives a menacing-cool face to the creative community of Skid Row.Sponsored by Los Angeles Poverty Department
More than 80 artists living and working in Skid Row will assemble in Gladys Park, at the corner of 6th and Gladys Streets, for a weekend of live performances and visual arts showcasing the diverse range of talents among Skid Row residents.Reggae, rap, gospel, rock, theater, spoken word, poetry, dance and visual art will all be featured at the festival.
Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, released “Making a Case for Skid Row Culture: Findings from a Collaborative Inquiry by the Los Angeles Poverty Department and the Urban Institute”. This study by John Malpede (Los Angeles Poverty Department) and Mario Rosario Jackson (Urban Institute) documents the role of arts and culture in Skid Row. The paper is available at www.artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy/pdf/reading_room/LAPD.pdf This study found that culture comes from the ground up in Skid Row and is often initiated by residents and resident driven initiatives. This festival is undertaken to recognize these people and initiatives and to stimulate a new way of envisioning and talking about this neighborhood.
The ‘Festival for All Skid Row Artists’ moves the case for Skid Row culture forward in practice by creating a unique context that both generates cultural participation and documents it. This project encourages known neighborhood artists and identifys and brings together arts makers who are unknown even in their own Skid Row neighborhood.