In a surprise announcement, organizers of the monthly downtown Art Walk temporarily pulled the plug on the event made that made it safe for people with iPhones and designer dogs to walk down Main Street.
The Weekly learned late Friday that police — who a source stressed had been very supportive of the event, with some cops offering their own time — were asking organizers to pony up some of the costs of patrolling the people-filled streets during the monthly walk.
The walk also now spans three Business Improvement Districts that pay for their own trash pick-up and clean-up, tasks that multiply in cost and scope when the artful hordes come strutting.
So with City Hall and “BIDs” asking for cash, it appears that the six-year-old Art Walk had to roll up the sidewalks. But there's some hope:
Art Walk's principals insist the walk will return sometime after January as a “as a quarterly, weekend, daytime, gallery-focused event.”
Brady Westwater, an activist who some call the “mayor of downtown,” says he was at a recent meeting of the gallery owners** at which the future of the event was discussed — and that gallery owners almost unanimously voted to have the walk to continue
A quarterly Sunday event was proposed as a separate addition to the downtown walk, not as a replacement, he told the Weekly.
The sudden Friday announcement “was sort of a surprise to everybody downtown,” he said.
Gallery owners wanted to continue, with bars and restaurants pitching in for costs, he said.
Art Walk's growing popularity has paralleled the gentrification of downtown, with its new lofts, bars and restaurants, giving cultural vibrance to what was once a barren scene. Many Angelenos feel its one of the coolest things about the city — the kind of event where they bring out-of-towners to give them a feel for the metropolis' cultural pulse.
Organizers stated that Art Walk “has grown so large that it has become too costly to manage in its current form.”
Friday afternoon, nobody seemed to know what that tangled sentence meant.
**Correction: Previous version said Westwater was at an Art Walk board meeting.