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Pharmaka and Gilmore Associates to Bring More Art to Main Street

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, March 02, 2009, at 05:14PM
LAPD Motorpool

A rendering of the new LAPD Motorpool facility, by DMJM/Roth+Sheppard.

Main street will get a new gallery space later this year thanks to a partnership between Pharmaka gallery and Gilmore Associates. The two have partnered to lease the retail space being built into the front of the LAPD Motorpool facility on Main between 2nd and 3rd. Inside, Pharmaka plans to offer programs such as an art-appreciation event for at-risk youth.

The long, shallow space offers 2,400 square feet of retail in the front of LAPD's new parking garage and maintenance facility. Built as part of the project to construct the new LAPD Headquarters building one block north, the Motorpool was strongly opposed by the Downtown community, which felt it the wrong use for a developing arts and residential block. The gallery / retail space was added into the design as a concession to those concerns.

Last Tuesday, City Council approved the terms of a lease between General Services and the Pharmaka / Gilmore partnership. The pair, the only respondents to the city's RFP, get a five year lease on the space at $1 per square foot, plus some minimal fees for air conditioning.

Pharmaka, which will take the lead on programming, is still finalizing its plans for the new space. It will act as a complement to the gallery's main location at 5th and Main. Gallery Director Rebecca O'Leary says that she hopes to make the space not just a gallery, offering programs such as the at-risk youth effort and discussions on public art. She also hopes to create a partnership with the Downtown Independent theatre, located just across Main street, allowing the gallery to use the theatre for larger events.

Gilmore Associates is a partner with Weintraub Financial Services on Vibiana, the former cathedral located just up the block from the Motorpool, and has plans to build a residential tower on the space between the two.

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