State of the ART: Skid Row

October 7, 2018 through December 29, 2018
Opening Event: October 12, 2018, 6 – 9 p.m.

Ten years ago Americans for the Arts partnered with Los Angeles Poverty Department to do the first inventory of arts in Skid Row. We convened the neighborhood and asked: who makes art, where do they make it, what supports do they have in making art, and what are the obstacles that artists confront in Skid Row. The findings were released in a study, Making the Case for Skid Row Culture.

This exhibition checks in on the state of the arts in Skid Row ten years later. As a direct outgrowth of the inquiry the Los Angeles Poverty Department initiated, The Festival for All Skid Row Artists. LA Poverty Department maintains a registry of participating festival artists, counting over 700 artists, a 130 of whom are identified in photos and posters on the gallery wall and in video’s in this exhibition.

Activities of all Skid Row Artists and groups taking place in October and November are listed on our gallery-wall-sized-calendar and adjacent to it is a map of Skid Row murals.

While arts activity continues to flourish in Skid Row, some of the obstacles sited in the 2009 study persist. A convening of the neighborhood to reconsider current conditions will take place during the run of the exhibition.


State of the ART: Skid Row
October 12, – December 29, 2018

An inventory of current arts activity in Skid Row


Zillionaires Against Humanity:
Sabotaging the Skid Row Neighborhood Council
March 9, – June 30, 2018

The elements of the exhibition: illustrations and narrative from Adrian Riskin’s California Public Records Act inquiry into what really happened from his blog,; documents of the entire process provided by the Skid Row Neighborhood Council (SRNC) Formation Committee; and videos of different stages of the civic process by Linus Shento and photos and ephemera from the SRNC campaign.


January 19, – February 24, 2018

A film and exhibit of pictures from the movie about homeless individuals in Echo Park and Skid Row, Los Angeles.



December 9, 2017 – January 13, 2018

The exhibit features the works of more than 40 Skid Row neighborhood artists from Lamp Arts Program, working in a variety of media, from painting to sculpture and multimedia art.



Golf and Zoning policy in Los Angeles
June 10 – November 12, 2017

A playable educational golf course about zoning and redevelopment politics in Downtown LA. Each hole of the course explores a different aspect of zoning and its political implications. Specifically the course connects with the planned DTLA2040 rezoning plan which will have dramatic effects on Skid Row. Designed by Rosten Woo, in collaboration with LAPD.



Words We Have Learned Since 9/11
Oct 7 – Dec 3, 2016

A public, participatory photographic project by Clayton Campbell. In workshops, participants are asked to identify words they have learned since 9-11, or words they knew but have taken on different meanings. Their portraits while holding their words on signs are then photographed on site and placed directly into the installation.

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The Dream Walk Exhibit
Aug 20 – Sept 18, 2016

The exhibition by Lamp Art Project features the works of a diverse group of more than 40 Skid Row artists, working in a variety of media. The majority of the works have been created specifically for this exhibition. Salem Rose, the artist who submitted the title, explains: “It’s an art walk (of sorts), walking also implies that we are moving forward. ‘Dream’ implies drive, determination, as well as recreation and restoration of aspirations.”

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Walk the Talk
May 18 – July 31, 2016

The exhibition features portraits, interviews, transcripts and ‘Walk The Talk’ performance scripts and videos of 52 people who have lived and worked in Skid Row and have been instrumental in creating a neighborhood in which the interests of its low income residents are prioritized and their voices heard.

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Blue Book / Silver Book
April 11 – June 28, 2015

In 1973 “The Blue Book,” was adopted by the city, in part as a strategy that would “contain” poor people in one corner of downtown. Significantly, it had the reverse effect of also preventing upscale development within Skid Row.

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General Dogon:
Screaming Two Wheelers
October 3 – December 18, 2015

An exhibition featuring Skid Row community civil rights organizer General Dogon and his low-rider bicycles.

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About the Skid Row History Museum and Archive

The Skid Row History Museum and Archive is an exhibition /performing arts space curated by Los Angeles Poverty Department. It foregrounds the distinctive artistic and historical consciousness of Skid Row, a 40-year-old social experiment. The Skid Row History Museum and Archive functions as a means for exploring the mechanics of displacement in an age of immense income inequality, by mining a neighborhood’s activist history and amplifying effective community strategies. The space operates as an archive, exhibition, performance and meeting space. Exhibitions will focus on grassroots strategies that have preserved the neighborhood from successive threats of gentrification and displacement, to be studied for current adaptation and use.

The space is activated by performances, community meetings and films addressing gentrification and displacement locally, nationally and globally. The culture that developed here on Skid Row—an activist culture, artistic culture and recovery culture—offers a useful model for other communities navigating gentrification pressures. The museum space also serves as a literal and artistic common ground, a welcoming space for Angelenos to meet and mingle and explore civic issues together.

In a second museum space an extensive archive of Skid Row History (planning documents, articles, videos, audios, interview transcripts etc.), are available for casual and scholarly research. Visitors will be able to access this archive, comment upon it and use it to further explore the show’s themes.


LAPD’s Skid Row History Museum and Archive project is supported with funding from the California Arts Council’s Creative California Communities Program, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Surdna Foundation.