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Downtown Art Walk Provides New View of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — Central Los Angeles is undergoing a renaissance - at least one night every month.

It is both a party - and an artistic pilgrimage. One evening each month, nearly 50 downtown galleries open their doors to thousands of visitors who sample the local art scene on a self-guided tour.

Artist and gallery owner Noboru Mishima shows art by Californians inspired by Asian themes.

“Most of the people are very interested in Japanese culture…,” Mishima said.

At a gallery around the corner, an artist who comes from Thailand displays her abstract sculptures, and artist Gonzalo Algarate, who comes from Uruguay, shows one of his works.

“For an artist, it's really rewarding because you have the chance to show what you do, and a big amount of people see it," Algarate said.

The monthly art walk brings thousands of people into the street. It is part of the revitalization of this city center. Once vacant buildings are now home to young professionals. Many artists live and work in downtown lofts. Mexican-born artist Miguel Osuna says he’s inspired by scenes he sees on the L.A. freeways.

“These are images that sometimes you see with the corner of your eye when you're driving,” Osuna said.

A gallery and shop called SubUrban features textiles from around the world, says curator Ellen Schinderman.

“Mostly Western Europe and the U.S., but it's so lovely to have pieces from as far afield as Finland,” Schinderman said.

Photographer Jaimee Itagaki says the art walk has brought new life to the city center.

“It's very exciting. It's revitalizing downtown,” Itagaki said.

And month by month, visitors are surprised to see how lively and international downtown L.A. is becoming.