While most new contemporary art galleries in L.A. have been opening near other galleries in Culver City, Hollywood or downtown, Michelle Papillion opened hers on a block of Leimert Park with no galleries on it. She believes in the neighborhood and the artists working nearby. There's a “vibe,” she says, a young creative community waiting to be activated. Her white-walled storefront was built at the end of the 1920s and has been a gallery twice before, first in the late 1960s, right after the Watts riots, when Leimert Park became known as a black cultural center, and later around 2010, when arts patron Eileen Norton briefly hosted exhibitions there. But even when Norton occupied the space, Leimert remained segregated from the L.A. art world at large. Papillion's first few months of programming have been an attempt to change that while still keeping the neighborhood in the loop. Her May show, paintings by artist Noah Davis, was dark but still down-to-earth. The gallery's summer video residency, featuring a different video artist each week, worked to make a typically difficult medium accessible. Openings have been packed. —Catherine Wagley
4336 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park, 90008. (323) 642-8402, papillionart.com.