Drive-by-Art in Los Angeles
Written By Sydney Walters
For the past two weekends, Drive-by-Art has scratched the art-loving itch of Angelinos. Organizers Warren Neidich, Renee Petropoulos, Michael Slenske, and Anuradha Vikram sent out a press release of the event showcasing over 150 contributing artists around the city. The first weekend was devoted to exploring east LA and the second weekend was reserved for the Westside.
A digital map was created to pin artist locations and plan your route around the city. Dozens of tiny pins read like a treasure map with each dot promising a new experience. Viewers had six hours to see the sites during the day and could circle back around starting at 8pm to view select night installations. While this incredibly ambitious project provided a refreshing glimpse back into the art world, the event had some drawbacks. For example, most of the artwork I observed was not compatible with a drive-by format. I parked near each pin because many of the works were small or tucked away from the road. Parking and walking, instead of sticking your head out the window while you slowly creep by, allows you to spend more time considering the work. That said, the term “drive by” was a bit misleading because the best experience was on foot rather than a car. Secondly, some of the pins were not aligned with where the art was located. In some cases I could not find the art altogether. This extended the commute and posed a slightly frustrating hunt.
However, as mentioned previously, this was an ambitious project and ambition coupled with organizing over 100 artists will no doubt have a few hiccups. An important benefit of walking to the site is that it allows for direct contact with some of the artists who were stationed at their work. These were the best stops because it provides an opportunity to meet the maker, ask questions, and connect with a determined maker during these unprecedented times. Yasmine Diaz, Chet Glaze, and Kristine Schomaker were some of the artists stationed by their work that provided additional information about their pieces. Logistically, Drive-by-Art had some malfunctions. Yet the communal spirit, optimistic showcases, and compelling work made this event a delight to experience.
So cool! I would love to get involved in a project like this, although, it sounds like some of our art show venues are opening up this month. I’m glad, but not sure I’m ready to be around people yet.