Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) creates performances and multidisciplinary artworks that connect the experience of people living in poverty to the social forces that shape their lives and communities. LAPD’s works express the realities, hopes, dreams and rights of people who live and work in L.A.'s Skid Row.

The Skid Row Arts Fest is produced by Los Angeles Poverty Department with the support from the California Arts Council’s Creating Public Value program and The James Irvine Foundation.  CAC’s CPV program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Festival for All Skid Row Artists

January 27 and 28 from 12 – 4 PM in Gladys Park

The Los Angeles Poverty Department is producing the 2nd annual Festival for All Skid Row Artists on Friday and Saturday January 27 and 28, from 12 – 4 PM in Gladys Park, at the corner of 6th and Gladys Streets in Skid Row.

The Festival for All Skid Row Artists is two afternoons of performances and visual arts activities by artists who live and work on Skid Row. Neighborhood artists will perform and Los Angeles Poverty Department will collect digital data to create an artists’ registry and an archive of artists work.  We will film and photograph art, writing, song and performances of neighborhood residents in Gladys Park. This year’s festival has expanded in several ways: it will take place over 2 days, rather than one, a reflection of the depth of artistic activity on Skid Row and a select number of performers and visual artists from outside Skid Row will participate, a reflection of the existing exchange between Skid Row artists and the greater LA arts community.

You can sign up in advance by sending an email to or you can sign up for the open mic during the days of the Festival.

!!! When you register as an artist we will give you some menacing cool shades and we'll film your performance and give you a DVD with clips of all the performances and art works !!!

Making a Case for Skid Row Culture

In 2009, the Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts, released “Making a Case for Skid Row Culture: Findings from a Collaborative Inquiry by the Los Angeles Poverty Department and the Urban Institute”.

This study by John Malpede (Los Angeles Poverty Department) and Mario Rosario Jackson (Urban Institute) documents the role of arts and culture in Skid Row. This study found that culture comes from the ground up in Skid Row and is often initiated by residents and resident driven initiatives. This festival is undertaken to recognize these people and initiatives and to stimulate a new way of envisioning and talking about this neighborhood.
The paper is available on our website or click here.

The festival is moving the case for Skid Row culture forward in practice by creating a unique context that will both generate cultural participation and document it. This project will encourage known neighborhood artists and identify and bring together arts makers who are unknown, even in their own Skid Row neighborhood.

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