Arts & Crafts Revisited

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The Arts and Crafts and Plein Air movements of the early 20th century were born against the backdrop of rapid and celebrated (but perhaps misguided) industrialization. These artist celebrated a return to nature, material and craft, and rejected the impersonal nature of mass produced goods.

Against the backdrop of our current digital-mediated culture, a similar return to nature, craft and material is occurring, this time expressed through the DIY sensibilities of a new generation of artists and cultural producers.

This is a historically resonant moment for Highland Park and the Arroyo. Much as Lummis, Percival and others celebrated community and experimentation, today's artists and thinkers are digging their hands into the dirt to create conceptual art, and using yarn to mark territories, real or imagined. They are claiming city streets for pop-up gardens and parks, and painting - plein-air - the effects of industrialization on our built environment.

At the turn of the 20th century Highland Park was the bohemian capital of Los Angeles. Now at the turn of the 21st the neighborhood is reclaiming the honor.

Above, Art Center professor Laura Cooper parallels renewed arts and crafts motives with those from historic practitioners; Highland Park Heritage Trust preservationist Nicole Possert describes artists' return to plein air trend; heir to Judson Studios David Judson recounts the role of technology in the Arts and Crafts Movement; director of the Arroyo Arts Collective Heather Hoggan explains their role in Highland Park; Lisa, an anonymous mom from knit-bombing group Knit Riot, defines public art and arts education advocacy in context with unsolicited art installations.

Contrary to Technology
David Judson aligns interests in arts and crafts with high concentration of machines and technology in society.
Craft
Craft
Artist and professor Laura Cooper describes the healing, meditative qualities of making hand-crafts individually and with groups.
Return to Nature and Plein Air
Highland Park local historian and preservationist parallels motives for the new plein air movement with those from artists at the turn of the century.
Walking the Sleeping Garden
Laura Cooper describes the Arroyo Seco's cyclical pull for artists and the current arts and crafts renaissance in the area.
Arroyo Arts Collective
Heather Hoggan, director of Highland Park-based artist group the Arroyo Arts Collective, recounts the organization's history and role in the community.
Yarn Bombing
Heather Hoggan defines yarn bombing's place in public art and its relationship to graffiti.
Knit Bombing Moms with a Cause
An anonymous mom from the group Knit Riot explains the group's motivation for a recent installation at Aldama Elementary School.
Explore the related interactive mural

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