Boyle Heights Briefs: Open Markets, Discussion on Arts District, and Meeting on Metro Owned Sites

Artists, community members came to Self Help Graphics and Arts discussion about the pros and cons of Boyle Heights as an arts district. Kris Fortin/LA Streetsblog

Just because I haven’t been writing about Boyle Heights lately, doesn’t mean nothing is going on. The last couple of weeks saw festivals and community meetings that could create lasting change in Boyle Heights.

Last week, the neighborhood celebrated the festival of Santa Cecilia at Mariachi Plaza. The multi-day festivities included a procession and day-long activities full of music, food, and crafts. Santa Cecilia is the “Patron Saint of Music” and the celebration of her saint day has been a tradition at the Mariachi Plaza site dating back to when Mariachis gathered at a doughnut shop before the plaza was ever constructed.

Two weeks ago, Relief International’s Boyle Heights Youthbuild had an open market where it showcased its social and environmental justice curriculum. The charter school helps students up to 24 years old receive their high school diploma. The below Photo essay captures the people and organizations that made up the event:

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Arts District in Boyle Heights?

On a rainy night, more than 40 people crowded  into the Self Help Graphics and Arts to talk about Boyle Heights potentially becoming an Arts District. The discussion ranged from how arts districts help lead to gentrification, to cautionary tales of rent hikes happening after a neighborhood became an arts district.

Nestor Lemus, a 26-year-old writer, said that growing up in Echo Park he sees that while the same gentrification factors happening in his neighborhood are happening in East LA, the Boyle Heights community needs to find a way to not resist it, but impact the process.  “In East LA, we have to figure out how to synthesize the change.”

While many of the people at the discussion were artists, Leonardo Vilchis, cofounder of Union de Vecinos, said that the broader population needs to be involved in these types of gatherings.

“There’s 90,000 people living in Boyle Heights. The median income is $25,000 a year,” Vilchis said. “The we that talks about how to deal with gentrification . . . has to include those people.”

Evonne Gallardo, executive director of Self Help Graphics and Arts, said more conversations on this topic will be scheduled in the future.

Upcoming in the Eastside

  • Building Healthy Communities, Boyle Heights will have its General Assemby on December 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. This general assembly will give residents information about healthcare on the local level, with an explanation about the affordable care act.
  • The same day as the general assembly, Metro will be giving updates about four of its project sites in Boyle Heights. The meeting will be from 6-7:30 p.m. on December 6  at the Boyle Heights Senior Center (2839 E. 3rd St. Los Angles, CA 90033).
Image from Metro via Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council

The following sites include:

  1. Ist and Lorena
  2. Cesar Chavez and Soto
  3. Mariachi Plaza
  4. First and Soto
  • This Wednesday is also the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council meeting (Click here for the full agenda). Some of the agenda items of interest include an update on the LAC+USC Medical Center Master Plan, and results will be revealed from a Boyle Heights retail & commercial survey-assessment.

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