Mission

Art Share L.A. is a sanctuary for the arts in downtown LA. We maintain a 28,000 sq-ft warehouse in the heart of the arts district. Upstairs, we provide 30 subsidized live/work lofts for artists. Downstairs, we have a community programmed facility offering classes, exhibitions and events.

History

FOUNDED: 1997

BUILDING DETAILS & HISTORY:

In 1912, the lot was a single family residential home. The property was bought in 1928 and a 28,800 square foot, 2-story textile recycling (“rag shop”) was constructed.

During the mid-80’s the area surrounding this warehouse, now called the Arts District, experienced a major influx of artists who sought the large, open, industrial spaces for creative purposes. This trend continued throughout the 90’s and with the increasing interest in loft-living came a drastic increase in property value.

In 1997, the building was purchased and Art Share L.A. was born. The top floor was converted into 30 affordable micro-loft live/work spaces with a large common room. Part of the roof was removed to allow for natural light, and to create an outdoor patio area—complete with koi pond. The bottom floor was compartmentalized into a theater, gallery, painting studio and office with 3 additional multi-purpose classrooms. Remnants of the industrial era are still present at Art Share—brick walls, wooden support beams, sliding freight doors and old train tracks in our alley…

 

PROGRAMMING HISTORY:

Art Share L.A. was founded as a community arts center and affordable housing complex during a time when inner-city arts programming was non-existent and artists were being displaced by the skyrocketing property value and rent increases. The average rental rate for a loft in 1990 was $0.25cents/square foot – today, the average rental rate is pushing $1.35/square foot.

At the turn of the century, Art Share flourished as an after-school arts center for youth ages 12-18, and experienced tremendous success shaping student lives through exposure to the arts. Following the 2008 recession, the non-profit landscape and demographics of the neighborhood had both changed drastically, and Art Share found itself in dire need of programmatic reassessment and building repair.

The summer of 2012 was a revolutionary period for Art Share, in which we re-opened our doors and re-launched our programs. The organization underwent a strategic rebranding and assessment, with help from our neighbors at brand consulting firm Innovation Protocol, and new board members and new managing staff joined the team. The building’s exterior received a killer paint job with help from international street artist, INSA—transforming the space into a vibrant downtown landmark. In addition, that summer Art Share hosted the largest community exhibition the gallery had ever seen. Entitled “25 Cents a Square Foot”, the show involved over 100 pieces that told the story of the Arts District. Art Share also hosted a 7-week summer series, consisting of live music, film screenings and improvisational theater, to which the community responded with resounding excitement.

Board Members

Kevin Rodin – President
Kevin Rodin has worked in the Arts District for most of the last five years as a developer of innovative and sustainable affordable housing. He has been working in nonprofits and nonprofit management for over ten years.  He currently is Vice President of Development at the Michaels Organization, the nation’s largest affordable housing development company, where he runs the largest active public housing redevelopment west of the Mississippi.  Music is his thing.

Laura Maly – Vice President/Secretary
Laura is a small business owner, traveler and yogi. She has been a part of ArtShareLA and the Art’s District since 2012.

Rick Robinson – Former President
Rick Robinson is a fine artist and advertising professional.  His has been a deeply immersed citizen of the LA Arts District since 1992, working with community-based groups from the start.  He is the outgoing Art Share Board President, having served since 2012.  His current professional assignment is that of Chief Strategy Officer for Billups - http://billupsww.com/.  You can see his artwork at http://primitivepop.net/

Kara Alter
Kara Alter is a Brand Strategist at Arts District-based Innovation Protocol and led a team of designers to help Art Share refresh its brand identity in 2012. Kara is also a working artist and dancer, and founded Art Share’s donation-based weekly dance program.

Richard Birt
Richard Birt has been an active artist for 42 years, working in the mediums of oil painting, film and digital photography, furniture making and glass blowing. He has also been a patron of the arts for 32 years, having given over $500,000 in grants to young LA artists. He lives in Laguna Hills, but has been active in the Art District since 1979.  He is the CEO of three consulting and mobile companies.

Steve Grody
Steve Grody was an Arts District resident for twenty seven years and still lives close by. He has documented graffiti in Los Angeles resulting in the book “Graffiti LA: Street Styles and Art,” is an internationally respected martial arts instructor, and teaches swing dance. His photographs were featured in MOCA’s Art of the Streets show and he co-curated Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Mona Lee
Mona Lee is Art Share’s newest board member.  She has lived in the Arts District since the early 90′s and has seen first-hand the changes that are occurring.

Tara Thomas
Tara Thomas is the owner of Traxx Restaurant inside Union Station and an avid collector of contemporary art. Prior to Traxx, she owned 410 Boyd, a restaurant that was a legendary haven for artists to congregate, eat, drink and make merry. Tara has lived and worked in Downtown Los Angeles since 1992 and never plans to leave.

Mark Walsh
Mark Walsh has lived and worked in the Arts District since 1987 as a sculptor and freelance designer. He owns the Downtown Artist Space, which rents out workspace and tools. He also produces web videos that promote the arts in Los Angeles.