Do you remember the post about The Last Bookstore? And do you by any chance remember that while I was enamored with the store overall, I claimed that the real magic began on the second floor?
Well, you probably don’t. Which is exactly why I’m recapturing it for you.
Indeed, on the Mezzanine of the Spring Arts Tower (the building hosting The Last Bookstore) one can find not only the Labyrinth (i.e., over 100,000 books sold for next to nothing), but also the Spring Arts Collective. In a few words, the Spring Arts Collective is a group of artists whose works, in all their quirkiness, playfulness and sense of entering a magic world, perfectly complete the atmosphere of the place. In practice, there are six galleries/studios/shops to find, and the best part is that the artists’ works seem to sneak out of the ateliers, so that one just naturally encounters them on their way.
“After my final assessment of your condition, it is in my best judgement that you are suffering from severe dementia and hallucinations. While reviewing your brain scans I found some bizarre irregularities…
What is it? What exactly are you seeing? You say there are books flying off of the shelf?
…your condition may be much worse than I anticipated…”
Next, one encounters Gather: DTLA’s Knitty Nook, a place full of yarn taken care of by Evi, Renaissance, Ginny and Beth. The main focus of Gather is on providing supplies for knitting “that are local, made in the US, fair-trade, and eco-friendly”. (Psst: there is a lot of workshops held too!)
Right afterwards one finds pieces by Andrea Bogdan, arranged in a small area of free space overlooking the store downstairs. Naturally, there is much more of Andrea’s works in Andrea’s studio, further down the corridor.
There are also ateliers of David Lovejoy, Robin McGeough, Liz Huston, and The Fold by Jena Priebe, and their works are scattered throughout the corridor as well. Moreover, they even migrate into the Labyrinth which begins nearby.
One of the art pieces escapes the Mezzanine altogether and heads out to the main lobby of the Spring Arts Tower. It’s Scatterbrained by Jena Priebe, which is so beautiful it breaks my heart. If the sheer form of it wasn’t enough (and it is enough), there are little lights attached to the edges of the music sheets which begin to glitter the second one plays the piano. It’s condensed magic.
I think that taking art out of the galleries and closed artist communities and placing it in public (or semi-public) space is a fantastic idea. Let’s be honest here: if I didn’t come upon this all accidentally the day I went out to wander through downtown L.A. and got interested in what the name ‘The Last Bookstore’ could entail (for details, go to the post about The Last Bookstore), I would probably never see one piece of it. Moreover, in some sense this is exactly what art should be: a part of everyday experience rather than an element of a detailed Sunday outing. This way it just gets a lot more people on board.
That said, I do not advocate to cover the walls of the nearest grocery store with Picasso. There are many reasons why these are kept in galleries.
Yep. I’ll let you know when I’ll find a truly convincing one.
PS This sign is on the Scatterbrained. So cute, isn’t it? Because art can be that too, you know.