A weekend of live performances and visual arts showcasing the talents of Skid Row residents.
This fall, the Los Angeles Poverty Department’s Festival for All Skid Row Artists returns for its 4th annual incarnation. On Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, from 12 – 4 PM, more than 80 artists living and working in Skid Row will assemble in Gladys Park, at the corner of 6th and Gladys Streets, for a weekend of live performances and visual arts showcasing the diverse range of talents among Skid Row residents. Reggae, rap, gospel, rock, theater, spoken word, poetry and dance will all be featured at the festival. Included among the artists schedule to appear: Franc Foster, an electric guitar virtuoso will perform for the third year running with his band, Franc's Melting Pot. Manuel Compito—aka "O.G.," the Skid Row artist and advocate who at last year’s festival showcased artwork from his series of paintings, "Peace in Da Hood”— also returns with new works from his collection. Jennifer Campbell, a member of the Los Angeles Poverty Department, will perform, "I Lost My Mind on Skid Row, but I Found My Mind on Skid Row," her moving poem about addiction, homelessness and the road to recovery. Festival veterans Melek Zakaryah and the Black Onyx, a unique troupe of high energy singers, for the fourth consecutive year will provide the perfect musical motivation to get attendees feet moving. Live performances will be complemented by a wide-ranging exhibit by Skid Row’s visual artists. A select number of artists from outside Skid Row have been invited to exhibit as well, reflecting the burgeoning cultural exchange between Skid Row artists and the greater Los Angeles arts community. In conjunction with the festival, since 2009 LAPD has kept a registry of Skid Row artists, which now numbers more than 450. This registry grew out of the 2009 study “Making a Case for Skid Row Culture: Findings from a Collaborative Inquiry by the Los Angeles Poverty Department and the Urban Institute,” published by the Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts. Written by LAPD’s John Malpede and Mario Rosario Jackson of the Urban Institute, this paper documents the role of arts and culture in Skid Row, exploring how culture springs from the grassroots through resident-driven initiatives. Its findings have been utilized by various neighborhood groups in presentations to planning boards and the LA city council, as well as included on university syllabi and cited repeatedly in scholarly documents. It is available here: www.artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy/pdf/reading_room/LAPD.pdf
Los Angeles Poverty Department is a theater company comprised primarily of low income and homeless people living in those blocks of downtown Los Angeles known as Skid Row. Founded in 1985, Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) creates performances and multidisciplinary artworks that connect the experience of people living in poverty to the social forces that shape their lives and communities. LAPD’s works express the realities, hopes, dreams and rights of people who live and work in L.A.'s Skid Row.
‘Festival for All Skid Row Artists’ is produced by LA Poverty Department with partners United Coalition East Prevention Project and Lamp Community's Fine Arts Program. This year’s festival is made possible by support of The Department of Cultural Affairs of the city Los Angeles, the LIA fund, Los Angeles County Arts Commission and The California Arts Council’s Creating Public Value program. CAC’s CPV program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.