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The muddy, rain-soaked streets and gray, overcast sky failed to deter the hundreds of art enthusiasts, music lovers and local residents from attending Echo Park's inaugural Public Displays of Art: Echo Park Art Walk this past Saturday, February 6th.
The one-day event was organized by local designer Heather Mendoza of Art Needs Freedom as a way of bringing together the residents and local businesses that make up the community on Echo Park Ave.
"One of the things that I love about this neighborhood is that it is so eclectic," said Mendoza. "It's a melting pot. You have artists, musicians, young families, older families and people who have been here for decades."
"I actually did a little block party on my street this past summer," she continued. "It really made me aware of what the community wanted. The idea is to bring all these perspectives together to connect and build the community."
Many of these locals got to know each other better throughout the day as they walked the mile-long corridor of homes and stopped at businesses such as Flounce, Tavin, The Dahl House and The Fix that hosted live music, performance art and art exhibits from local artists and musicians in the area.
"It feels like a very small town in a really big city," said Campbell, a member of local Rock group The Black Apples. He and his brother Drew, Jason and Nick performed at Echo Country, which also happens to be operated by their friends.
"Echo Park is more of a community," added Nick who recently joined the band. "I've lived here for six years and I've met some of the most creative and artistic people here. Everybody knows everybody and everybody plays with everybody."
Hip-Hop beats resonated through a PA system at Ronin Gallery a few doors down as Fresh of L.A. Breakers busted some dance moves on the hardwood floor. Outside, a graffiti artist was hard at work on a mural while a group of bikers from Echo Park Cycles ate tacos from Don Chow's taco truck.
"I was born and raised in LA," said Lawrence Lie of Don Chow whose cooks were serving Chinese/Mexican fusion cuisine. "I grew up eating Chinese food but I was also surrounded by all this great Mexican food, so why not combine the best of both worlds?"
Further down the street, the Grill 'Em All truck fed the hungry crowd outside Evil Monito while shoppers at Feeding Birds boutique a few hundred feet away where treated to tacos and burritos from Calbi and acoustic music by Miles Moore.
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"I didn't even know about this until I stepped outside," laughed resident Billy Juarez as he looked through the organic shirt rack at Feeding Birds. "It was fun though. They should do it again."
"I loved seeing the sidewalk filled with people and the energy of people connecting," said Mendoza as the night drew to a close. "I love how it brought people together."