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Hammer Museum's new pop-up village re-invents Westwood

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Annie Philbin (left), director of the Hammer Museum, with Claire Hoffman of the Goldhirsh Foundation.

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Whitman's Beard is a used books store that's just getting its feet wet at the Hammer Arts ReStore event in Westwood, CA.

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Loyal Dean makes skateboards in South Central out of discarded wood from a partner door and window business.

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Clothes made by Weltenbuerger, based in Los Feliz, are on display in one of the 7 reclaimed storefronts participating in the Hammer Arts ReStore event.

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An assembly line of poets write made-to-order poems as part of the Hammer Arts ReStore event in Westwood, CA.

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View of 1025 Westwood Boulevard, where Dosa Mercantile and Give Good Art have taken up temporary tenancy as part of the Hammer Arts ReStore event in Westwood, CA.

Jerry Gorin/KPCC

View of 1024 Westwood Boulevard, where designers Iko Iko have taken up temporary tenancy as part of the Hammer Arts ReStore event in Westwood, CA.


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


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