All is Well For Now: Downtown Art Walk Receives First Bill from City

Crowds fill in the streets at June's Downtown Art Walk
Crowds fill in the streets at June's Downtown Art Walk

The popular and crowded Downtown L.A. Art Walk winds down an eventful year on a slightly high note.

The first-ever bill from the city for the monthly event that started in 2003 reached just over $8,500 in October, a price that was not insurmountable, signaling a good future for the event. A fatal crash in July beget a task force, which implemented reimbursement from event organizers for costs occurred by the city.

The bill for this month's event, however, should be nearly half of October's, explained Art Walk executive director Joe Moller. "The final cost is being calculated now," he said this week. Still, he hinted there are plans for the months ahead, a sign Art Walk is moving forward, despite financial haggling with some Art Walk participates.

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The non-profit has scrambled to reach out to stakeholders to help defray costs, yet some consider their share too high for small business operations. That applies to food trucks, said Truck it-Fest's Phillip Dane, who said two food truck collectives dropped out from Art Walk due to the price tag. He added that it wasn't helped with the ongoing changes in policy and trucks were forced out of the centralized area of Gallery Row.

One of Dane's food truck and craft table collectives can be found in a parking lot on Main, just south of 7th. "You can call that perimeter, Trenton, New Jersey," he groused. "We rent the lot and it's a for-profit business that pulls people into Downtown during Art Walk, which all the businesses benefit from."

Art Walk organizers requested Dane to pay $1,000 to $1,500, a price that was in flux as the October price tag was being finalized by the city. That month, Dane offered Art Walk $500, a figure he feels fairly represented the ratio of the businesses on wheels versus the brick-and-mortar cafes and galleries.

Despite the constant negotiation and fund-hunting, Moeller is determined to move the attention away from Task Force policy and back to the event. He noted that there has been an increase in participating galleries since he was selected as Executive Director in December 2010. "We are up to 47 [galleries] versus 27 when I started."

Jumping into November, Moeller touts Malaysian Kitchen, a new Art Walk sponsor, who will be scattered around Gallery Row with samples.

Importantly, if you take the time, there are also samplings of art to be seen.

The photo used on this post is by Flickr user mikeywally. It was used under a Creative Commons License.

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