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Around the Art Walk: Rule Changes Produce Exploration During August Art Walk

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011, at 06:36PM
August Downtown Art Walk Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Puppeteer Eli Presser entertains outside the Crossfit Mean Streets gym on Main Street.

New rules put in place by the city's Art Walk task force pushed food trucks and vendors out of the area between Spring, Main, 3rd and 7th, leaving the August edition of Downtown's largest monthly event with a sense of exploration as attendees navigated unfamiliar blocks in search of their favorites.

That's a success in the eyes of Councilman Jose Huizar, who helped push the changes after the July accident that left an infant dead when a car crashed into a crowded sidewalk. Huizar took a stroll around the Art Walk on Thursday evening, and was pleased to see sidewalks that were calmer and more passable than they have been in recent months.

That's not to say the night was entirely without incident. Around 5pm, dozens of vendors were lined up to check in at ARTsquare's planned location at 340 S. Spring when city inspectors showed up to say that the event lacked the permits needed to operate in the parking lot. It's unclear where those vendors ended up.

Puppeteer Eli Presser was among the street performers caught up in the crackdown on unpermitted uses. The Cal Arts grad has been visiting Art Walk for the last eight months, and was performing his marionette show on Spring Street north of 5th when an LAPD officer came up and asked him to move along.

Presser found a new stage outside the Crossfit Mean Streets gym on Main Street, north of 3rd. The normally desserted block was busy with Art Walkers headed to the parking trucks outside Vibiana.

"I had heard that the food trucks were going to be held off the street and no street vendors, but I was kind of curious whether street performers were fine," he said between shows."

"This is cool. It's a good spot, actually."

The juxtaposition between his delicate performance and the power workouts going on behind him was not lost on Presser. "It's kind of a trip," he said. "It's cool."

Huizar said that he would love to have been able to allow some performers to stay on the sidewalks inside the core boundaries, but that it was more important to ensure that everyone was playing by the same rules. He made a point of working with LAPD to ensure that officers were instructed to warn violators and gently give them the new rules instead of issuing citations.

While the August rules may not be exactly those used for future events, it appears for now that those tactics hit just the right note.

I took all of my stills from last night—the few I used above and the many more that aren't worthwhile as pictures—and put them into a 45 second video tour of the August Art Walk.

» Live Updates — Last: August 11, 2011

  • 11:19PM LAPD appears to have busted a danger dog vendor at 7th/Spring who left the carts. Passersby just thought the cops were cooking. (ERIC)
  • 11:14PM Apparently the income tax place in SB Main turns into a party at the end of Art Walk. (ERIC)
  • 11:06PM At least 100 people in line to get into the Down and Out at 11pm. Not sure what to make of that. (ERIC)
  • 10:46PM Updated photos from tonight's Art Walk. Headed back out to see how the later part of the night shapes up :: (ERIC)
  • 09:47PM Stopping by home to rest my legs for a few and upload some photos. (ERIC)
  • 09:13PM Just had a chat with puppeteer Eli Presser outside Crossfit Mean Streets gym. Cool juxtaposition (ERIC)
  • 09:03PM This is sort of the explorers' version of Art Walk. People walking around all the side streets, mostly looking for their trucks (ERIC)
  • 08:55PM Not particularly crowded at Grand Central Market, but still folks getting food as the venue wraps up its extended Art Walk hours. (ERIC)
  • 08:45PM Just got a race review of the food trick lot up at Vibiana. Headed up that way to check it out. (ERIC)
  • 08:45PM Just got a rave review of the food trick lot up at Vibiana. Headed up that way to check it out. (ERIC)
  • 08:27PM LAPD just told the Little Big Rubber Band Band to move along outside 524 S. Spring (ERIC)
  • 08:26PM The band was headed into the LATC. (ERIC)
  • 08:25PM 5th and Spring is quickly turning impassable. Following a band down the street. (ERIC)
  • 08:06PM Live operatic music in the Medallion courtyard. Crowd hanging out on the steps listening. The woman singing is good. (ERIC)
  • 07:37PM More of an old-school Art Walk scene on Los Angeles between 7th and 8th. Fashion and art. (ERIC)
  • 07:09PM Art Walk sidewalk expansion: no tables outside Syrup Desserts. Inside dining only. (ERIC)
  • 06:48PM Live #dtla Art Walk updates throughout the evening on twitter and at (ERIC)
  • 06:48PM Watching the food truck tweets, it looks like the main action is at 232 S. Main and 710 S. Spring, as well as 8th and Spring (ERIC)
  • 06:48PM Pamela spots LAPD on horseback patrolling the Art Walk -- (ERIC)


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