Saturday, February 10, 2007

Venice Formalized

This may sound like an oxymoron, but it's today's reality. Venice Beach had joined the gentrification bandwagon, and the Boardwalk is only one piece of the jigsaw.
You knew change was in the charts when the city started enforcing the delivery of permits for people to sell their wares on the beach. Then a new ordinance, aggressively enforced by local police, prevented most of the vendors from even setting foot on the Boardwalk. Empty lots are being developed into condos. Land values have increased exponentially. Funky cottages are bought as tear downs, and replaced by lot maximizing design monoliths.

The celebrated walls where graffiti artists could let their art flow at will are to be renamed "Venice Public Art Walls," and the free for all program is to be "much more formalized," with "on-site mentors and supervisors in the area to keep an eye on things and talk to the kids," according to the Argonaut. Artists will be required to submit design sketches before they can participate -- or how to muzzle creativity.

With gentrification came the middle-class frustration with the free spirit -- good and bad -- of the area. Sure it's getting cleaner, but the very spirit that made Venice famous is disappearing. Fast.
photo LA Frog
Argonaut update 05/31/07: New rules at graffiti wall
LATimes update 06/04/07: New rules for Venice art walls
SMMirror update 06/07/07: Graffiti Permits in Venice
SMDP update 06/08/07: Sanctioned graffiti raises issues
Blogging LA update 06/16/07: Venice Art Wall comes under regulation