Obscura Society LA & Cartwheel Art Tours: DTLA Arts District - Atlas Obscura
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Los Angeles

Obscura Society LA & Cartwheel Art Tours: DTLA Arts District

Travel through the heart of the Arts District as we discover street art, murals, a new distillery, artist studios, galleries, the 6th Street Bridge, and artisanal eateries!

Meet artists, developers, historians, and creative entrepreneurs of the Arts District in their homes, studios, businesses, and on the streets. Exploring the heart of this thriving neighborhood, we'll weave together past and present—saying goodbye to the 6th Street Bridge and welcoming a new distillery not yet open to the public.

The DTLA Arts District was once a gritty section of the city filled with disused warehouses, train tracks and manufacturing plants. But in the late 60s, artists and other creatives began taking up residence (often illegally) in these abandoned buildings and turning this long-forgotten part of LA into a place unlike any other in the country. In 1981, the City of Los Angeles passed its "Artist in Residence" ordinance and thereby making this unique revitalization effort legal. Today, it is a center of frenetic change and home to the visual and culinary arts.

The Los Angeles Obscura Society is thrilled to partner with Cartwheel Art Tours for this immersive, urban exploration. Cartwheel Art Tours eclectic team of knowledgeable and passionate district insiders are deeply connected to the neighborhood. Our host, Cindy Schwarzstein, is the founder of Cartwheel Art online-magazine and Cartwheel Art Tours director. She lives and works in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District and is involved with a diverse number of mural and community groups and serves on he board of the Los Angeles Artists and River Business Association (LARABA).

Highlights of this tour include:

Artisanal Eatery: We'll begin the tour at Urban Radish, a local market self-described as a “21st Century Mom and Pop community food store.” Onsite, we'll enjoy an assortment of delicious breakfast breads/muffins and beverages including coffee, tea and juice.

Murals: Discover murals by contemporary artists such as Angelina Christina/Ease One, Cleon Peterson, Andrew Schulz, ROA, M-City, Ralph Ziman, Septerhed, Leba, as well as discovering murals by graffiti artists such as, Saber and Zes, members of MSK/AWR Crew, K2S Crew, UTI Crew, Mice of Millions, Retna, Dame Risk/Revok/Able, Codak/Remi Rough/Kofie, along with many others.

History of Street Art: Meet Steve Grody, historian and author of Graffiti LA, featured photographer in the MOCA “Art in the Streets” exhibition, and co-curator of the exhibition “Street Cred: Graffiti Art from concrete to Canvas” at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Steve will share the history of street art in LA and details of graffiti lettering/styles.

Artists and Galleries: Meet artists Heath Satow and Nicholas Bonamy in their studios and visit several of the many galleries including Ibid GalleryHarmony Murphy, and Wilding Cran.

Farewell to the 6th Street Bridge: Explore the 6th Street Bridge where countless car chase scenes and many music videos have been filmed and where most recently, "The Walking Dead" was in production. Scheduled for demolition next year, seize this opportunity to say farewell to this cultural icon.  

Distillery Tasting: A tasting at The Spirit Guild a farm-to-glass distillery, where they have created a line of spirits from local fruits and botanicals right in their Arts District space, which is not yet open to the public. Founded by Morgan McLachlan and Miller Duvall, The Spirit Guild, is an extremely unique business that we are excited to welcome to the neighborhood.

Extras: While the tour has a set itinerary, there are sometimes spontaneous adventures that occur because of Cindy’s connection to this very intimate community. Expect surprise encounters with artists, creatives, and neighbors along the way!

For more urban art, check out our tour of the Gabba Art District on November 21st.

Notes for this adventure:

- Meet at the Urban Radish: 661 Imperial Street., Los Angeles, CA 90021

- This is a two mile walking tour which includes older sidewalks, cobble stones and other rough surfaces surfaces. Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.

- Ages 12 and up. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. Must be 21+ to participate in the tasting at The Spirit Guild.

- Street parking is available, Imperial and Jesse Streets are recommended. Please read signs carefully and park at your own discretion.  

- This event is weather dependent. If we are expecting significant rain on this date, we will cancel the event via email. Tickets will be refunded or transferred to a rescheduled date, depending on your availability.

- Not ADA-accessible.

- A portion of the proceeds will go to Cartwheel Art and the artists.  

- Photography is encouraged! Tag #atlasobscura #cartwheelarttours 

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