Join your host Richard Schave, the founding director of the Downtown LA Art Walk non-profit, on a tour that reveals the secret history, and the fascinating future, of this most beguiling LA neighborhood.
This is a tour about the populated, vibrant mid-20th Century Downtown Los Angeles you’ve only heard about, and about the 21st Century Downtown which will rise again with a richness of heritage and quality of life that leaves natives and visitors gaping in disbelief. This is a tour about Downtown’s invisible neighborhoods and great public spaces which managed to escape the wrecking ball. This is a tour about how gentrification sprung up on the city’s meanest streets, with all the conflicts that go along with a major socio-economic shift in a small community. This is a tour about the real Los Angeles, the city even natives don’t know. Get on the bus for the real Lowdown on Downtown, as no one but Esotouric’s Richard Schave can reveal it.
Our tour begins in the corporate public spaces of Bunker Hill and Pershing Square, each the result of deliberate social engineering (the razing of old Bunker Hill which displaced 9,000 residents; the elimination of positive public space in Pershing Square to thwart public address and gatherings). We segue to the underappreciated yet extremely successful public spaces of the Historic Core and then to the emerging live/work community of The Old Bank District, where developer Tom Gilmore’s gentrification and the popular monthly Art Walk are bringing life to spaces which have been dead for decades. The tour concludes in the DIY loft spaces of the Arts District for a reception at an artist’s gallery.
Having studied under architecture critic Reyner Banham in the mid-1980s, tour host Richard Schave has taken it upon himself to correct his teacher’s gross oversight of downtown Los Angeles, relegated to a dismissive coda in his seminal Los Angeles guidebook Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. Richard and his wife Kim Cooper work extensively with the history and lost cultures of downtown in their bus tours, in their work placing Art Walk into a non-profit, on blogs including On Bunker Hilland 1947project, and through public lectures on the subject.
This tour has a significant walking component, down the stairs along Angels Flight, around Pershing Square, through several other pedestrian locations. It is broken up, but please be advised to be ready to stretch your legs.