Arts News

Joe Moller, Art Walk's Leader, Leaves DTLA Event

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 8:07 AM
click to enlarge TED SOQUI FOR LA WEEKLY
  • Ted Soqui for LA Weekly

Joe Moller has been a controversial head of downtown L.A.'s monthly Art Walk. Earlier this year he appeared as a contestant on Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker and said, "I would expect to get a blowjob" on the first date. That ruffled a few feathers.

See also: Joe Moller, Art Walk Leader, Expects BJs On First Date.

Some criticized his nearly three years of Art Walk leadership as an exercise in transforming the event from a peaceful, daytime tour of galleries to a rowdy, nighttime bar crawl. Others decried Moller's "special event fees" for Art Walk vendors, cash they said he wasn't entitled to ask for.

Well, they can rest easy now:

Moller is out.

The 38-year-old announced last week that he's leaving his position as executive director of the nonprofit organization that runs the Walk.

A statement from Art Walk says Moller wants to focus on his own endeavor, Joe Moller Events. He states:

Moving on is bittersweet. Being responsible for an event of this size and magnitude was a position I thoroughly enjoyed. The many artists, community leaders, business owners and City employees that I had the opportunity to work with and get to know personally was tremendously rewarding.

Filling Moller's shoes, at least for now, will be Qathryn Brehm, Art Walk's director of operations. She's described in Art Walk's statement as "a lifelong artist who works in digital and mixed media" and "a resident of Downtown Los Angeles for over 20 years."

She's well-liked, according to sources we talked to.

See also: Art Walk Los Angeles' Nasty War: Oops, Food Truck Ban Is Illegal.

Moller was a relative newcomer to the area.

He told us previously that he tried to keep the event safe and that he agreed with limits imposed by a city Art Walk Task Force following a car accident on a busy Art Walk sidewalk one night in 2011 that took the life of a baby boy.

click to enlarge DOWNTOWNARTWALK.ORG
  • downtownartwalk.org

Last year Occupy L.A. members clashed with the LAPD on a summer night during Art Walk, contributing to the event's reputation as increasingly rowdy.

The event used to start at noon but turned into a nighttime event, starting at 6 p.m., under Moller's watch.

We wanted to interview him about his reasons for leaving, but when we phoned Moller and asked if he wanted to talk he laughed and said, "Not to you."

Brehm, the interim executive director, didn't answer our questions, including whether or not Moller was voted out by Art Walk's board. She simply forwarded us the statement announcing his exit, which previously had appeared in just one other outlet, the Downtown News.

The next event happens Thursday, Oct. 10. Info.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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