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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Placemaking Strategies and Spatial Configurations of Artist-Run Organizations in Los Angeles

  • Author(s): Ward, Diane
  • Advisor(s): Kim Davis, Lisa
  • et al.

My focus in this study is on the role of artist-run organizations in creative cities. I argue that where artists decide to locate is not always predicated on amenities that already exist in place nor is it always determined by cultural trends that may cluster in certain areas of cities. Artists create places rather than simply consuming already constructed places and the places, in turn, condition this creation. The small-scale, artist-run organizations studied here have been under-examined in the creative cities literature. Artists are addressing questions of social and economic justice through their organizations and through neighborhood and community involvement. A look at the demographics of artist locations and occupations, brief histories that contextualize three artist-run organizations in Los Angeles, and interviews with key figures in these organizations are presented. Placemaking goals and strategies, along with the resulting spatial effects of artist practices, are examined. The three case studies show that artists create places through involvement in their chosen communities and neighborhoods, often focusing on social and economic issues.

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