connect / 2020
Los Angeles Street
This grant will support an artistic residency that will transform currently vacant properties in the LA Fashion District into shared community assets. The HDD dancemobile (a yellow convertible mustang) will move with artists between 7th and 12th streets on Los Angeles Blvd, establishing a pop-up performance venue and discovery space for exhibits, performances, workshops, and other activities curated by HDD, with participation by a diverse mixture of community stakeholders.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- City of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project?Pilot project or new program
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
- LA Fashion District BID
- SLATE - Z
- Urban Voices Project (Arts Organization)
- AYAN (Property owner & community organization)
- Santee Village (Property owner)
- Werkartz (Art spaces)
- Senator Holly J. Mitchell (Government partner)
If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.
HDD will work with the LA Fashion District Business Improvement District (BID); local businesses and property owners; SLATE-Z; local and State government; Ninth Street Elementary; and other local nonprofit partners to ensure that the unique “maker” culture of the existing community can remain and residents are not displaced. These relationships developed when we moved our headquarters in the Bendix Building in the Fashion District four years ago. To introduce ourselves to the community, we visited local shops with a boombox and danced in them. The owners, workers, and patrons not only accepted and appreciated this effort, but they danced with us. We are proud to have a number of Statements of Support from businesses and property owners who are excited to participate in Los Angeles Street.
What is the need you’re responding to?
The LA Fashion District, where our office is located, is the historical center of the garment industry. While the area’s manufacturing spaces still employ a large number of immigrants from South America, many of the buildings that formerly housed showrooms and boutiques are vacant or falling into disrepair. Especially now, amidst the economic downturn of coronavirus, we are anticipating a massive decline in consumer activity. This district has been in a state of flux; on one side, bordered by Skid Row, one of the nation’s largest populations of people experiencing homelessness, and on the other side, a recently revitalized, bustling retail district. Between its two ends, the Fashion District is a conglomerate of artists and immigrants – and this interplay is unique in the City. Our placemaking project intends to catalyze the spirit of the area, honor its historical roots, inspire hope, and inform community building practices as the area experiences further development.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
Founded in 1985, HDD continues to redefine the relationship between audience, art and site-specific spaces. HDD has developed a participatory and transparent practice in which each project is generated in collaboration with the community it serves. All rehearsals and engagement activities take place onsite and culminate in performances tailored to foster community bonds. From its inception, HDD has made accessibility and inclusion core components of its mission. HDD promotes access and cultural equity by focusing on engagement and building partnerships across sectors to strengthen neighborhoods. HDD’s youth arts education programs, established in 2013, have served over 10,000 youth and families at over 25 schools and community centers throughout the City, with an emphasis on low-income communities. At its home in the Bendix Building, the company regularly hosts salons and artist gatherings in its space, bringing community members together to explore opportunities for collaboration.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
HDD sees our creative work and practice as a tool of social justice, learning, and meaningful civic engagement. The intended beneficiaries of Los Angeles Street are the residents, workers, business owners, and property owners in the LA Fashion District. 48.6% of people are Hispanic/Latino and 12.2% are Black or African American; 54% are families with children; more than half of the population lives on household incomes of less than $40,000 and more than 600 people are experiencing homelessness. With confirmed partner Urban Voices, we will bring music and movement therapy directly to individuals marginalized by homelessness. We will also work with Ninth Street Elementary, a local school, to produce a series of Teaching Artist-led workshops.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
The overarching objective of Los Angeles Street is to empower the local community to collectively drive and improve the livability of the LA Fashion District and to honor and preserve its unique “maker” culture with impending new development. While we intend that arts and culture opportunities will ultimately attract more businesses and residents to the area, stimulating local economic development, we also hope to amplify the voices of the LA Fashion District’s residents and businesses. Through celebrating the history of the neighborhood and highlighting its vibrancy, we will equip them with the tools to express themselves and value their worth. In the short term, that may look like outreach to grow their individual businesses, in the long term that may look like empowered community stakeholders making informed decisions about new tenants that will honor and enrich the neighborhood’s culture.
Critical to meeting these objectives is building stronger relationships between residents, workers, artists, business owners, property owners, and the local and public organizations operating in the LA Fashion District. We believe that the collective expression of ideas, histories, and feelings through dance and movement can bring people together and lead to profound conversations. By facilitating workshops in an industrial space with historic roots in the community, we recognize the cultural assets of the neighborhood and aim to support positive self-identification, inclusivity, and respect for diverse cultures.
To measure the impact of our placemaking project, HDD will retain an evaluation consultant that will measure an increase in livability and congeniality resulting from participating in our program. Additionally, we will utilize a mixed-methods approach to gathering data, using both qualitative and quantitative tools. Throughout the residency, we will move to answer the questions: “What’s alive?”; “What’s buried?”; “What’s current?”; “What’s forgotten?”; and most importantly, “How can we help the community be inspired?”; Our success will partially be measured by our ability to collectively answer these questions and bring an understanding of Los Angeles street to the rest of Los Angeles.
Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?
- Public arts and cultural events
- Immigrant integration
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the best place to CREATE
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Communications support