If You Want to Change L.A., You’re Going to Need Artists

When Policy Making Falls Short, Creativity Is a Catalyst

From giving communities a voice in land use and zoning to creating mutual aid networks, Los Angeles artists and arts organizations are finding ways to imagine a better future for and effect change in the city. How are they accomplishing things that politicians and policy makers struggle with? A panel of L.A. arts leaders and practitioners offered their insights at a Zócalo/LA Commons event that asked, “How Do Artists See the Next L.A.?”

Panelist John Malpede, an artist who founded Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD)—a performance group of people who live …

Catching a Train—and Fragments of Poetry—at Union Station

An Experiment to Pour Art Into L.A.’s Great Monument to Transitory People

On September 2, actress and poet Melora Walters walked into the Traxx Bar at L.A.’s Union Station, in her hand a copy of Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters, the powerful poems …

I Dish Out the Food Your Supermarket Can’t Use

My Neighbors Were Going Hungry, So I Got My Local Trader Joe’s to Donate Carloads of Groceries

In the spring of 2009, my teenage daughter and I attended a memorial service in Pasadena, California, followed by a family-style luncheon. After the service, the retired clergyman who had …

The Afterlife of an El Sereno Post Office

This Shell of Former Civil Utilitarianism Makes a Terrific Art Studio

In 2011, after months of arduous searching, I happened upon a listing of a former U.S. Post Office for sale in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles. At the …

Letting Wildflowers Take Over My Front Lawn

I Volunteered to Tear Up the Grass and Turn My Home Into a Piece of Public Art

It is early July. As I look through my front window, I can see what’s left of the spring blooms that only months ago covered our front yard. The tall …

Shakespeare Would Have Loved L.A.

The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival Puts on His Plays as the Bard Intended: Wild, Weird, and Outdoors

I spent the entire July Fourth holiday last year making a roast. Not one you’d ever want to eat—it was made of old tights wrapped around a bag of tiny …