Change the Name of the Arts District to the Luxury District

KCRW’s There Goes the Neighborhood is a series of podcasts that investigate the rise of Los Angeles’s unaffordable landscape. This episode, “Change the Name of the Arts District to the Luxury District,” correlates the current real estate interest in Boyle Heights to the next-stage gentrification of Downtown LA’s Arts District.

Referring to the gentrification of Boyle Heights, Leonardo Vilchis from Union de Vecinos says: “You put up a gallery with paintings that cost tens of thousands of dollars, and the audience that comes to this place starts looking for further amenities… They look for the breweries, for the coffee shop, for the places to hang out. All of these things incur the cost of the local neighborhood, and in turn change how much it costs to live around here.”

Vilchis continues: “We have a history in this neighborhood of saying, ‘Yes but…’ to the developers, ‘Yes but…’ to the politicians. Once we started saying, ‘No,’ then they started listening.”

Later in the podcast, similar sentiments are echoed by the artists in the Downtown LA’s Arts District as displacement looms ahead of them. Artist and long-time resident of the Arts District Michael Parker says: “… Artists who have lived in the Arts District are coming together to say, ‘We’re not leaving.’ If you want to call this place the Arts District, then you need to make it so that we can stay in the Arts District. And if we can’t stay in the Arts District, then you need to change the name, Mayor Garsetti, Jose Huisar. You need to change the name to the Luxury District.”

He goes on: “If I get pushed out of the Arts District, a sixteen-year tenant… then am I going to gentrify somewhere else and push somebody else out?”

For other podcasts from There Goes the Neighborhood, click on this link.