Despite being situated on the doorstep of UCLA and near a host of beautiful, affluent neighborhoods, Westwood Village has sort of gone by the wayside in recent years.
Its vintage movie theaters have failed to attract visitors, its restaurants are big and corporate, and many of its storefronts have sat vacant for over a decade. The Hammer Museum has long been trying to court art galleries and other eclectic fare to the neighborhood, but landowners haven't been particularly interested. Until now.
Last year the Goldhirsh Foundation offered its LA2050 prizes to organizations with various ideas about how to shape the future of Los Angeles, and the Hammer pursued and won one of the prizes. Their idea was to build a pop-up village, filled with artists and designers and all kinds of local craftspeople.
"I think it's very clear that one more tanning salon or one more chain store is not going to save this neighborhood," says Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum. She says the neighborhood is surrounded by many wealthy people, but that the village itself is very unhealthy. "You can't have this many storefronts empty for this many years."
The pop-up village is called Arts ReStore, and includes 18 different vendors spread out in various temporarily re-claimed storefronts, including Iko Iko, Loyal Dean, and Iron Curtain Press. The three-week event also includes a series of workshops and performances.
"I'm excited about the idea of picking Westwood up," says Bridgid Coulter, a UCLA graduate whose Santa Monica based design company is showcasing at the event. "It's been sort of desolate for a while. I like that they're bringing the energy in and I'm happy to be participating."
Visit Arts ReStore on Thursdays through Sundays through November 24th. More information at www.artsrestore.la