Since I rejoined the L.A. Weekly team in April, this time as Arts Editor, things have been wild. But the opportunity to tell this incredible city's stories through the lens of its art world is one of the most deeply inspirational and rewarding experiences of my career. Still, merging the idea of a dedicated Arts issue with the beloved Best of L.A. format seemed a bit daunting. How could we possibly single out any individual artist, gallery, school, museum, independent curator, building or show as “the best” anything, with such an epic diversity of geography, style, medium, audience, backstory, mission and impact — not to mention the vagaries of personal taste — to survey? No way, right? But I think we figured it out.

See, the Los Angeles art world, in my opinion, is already the best. This is evidenced by the massive influx of artists and galleries, from homegrown projects to satellites coming from all over the globe; the city's own impressive civic commitment to art and artists; the international reputation of our many art schools; the vibrance of our literary, design and maker cultures; the acclaim and support coming to L.A. artists from the rest of the international art world; the proliferation of magazines and websites both published here and covering the L.A. art scene from their vantage points — and so much more.

That's part of why we did round-ups instead of winners. L.A. is already the winner.

What we've done for this special issue is to present a range of stories we want to make sure you know about. It's a big place, after all; it can be hard to keep track. (Though we do our best, with new art content at the website every day. You should be reading that if you aren't already.) For the Best of L.A. Arts, we are appreciating what the city's art world has to offer for everyone, celebrating some of its most enduring pillars, shining a spotlight on some of its grooviest gems, and going a bit deeper with some of the incredible people responsible for all this beauty and brilliance. With that, we say to all our beloved L.A. creatives, thank you for your work. We see you.

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