Today was the big day for East Hollywood ArtCycle, our community's version of an art walk/artcrawl. It was something that was born in the fall of 2008 at the EHNC Arts & Culture committee meetings, and it's the brainchild of the co-chairs of the committee -- Jennifer Moran, an artist, and Enci Box, a cyclist. After months of planning, organizing, outreach and a $2500 budget from the EHNC, it finally happened.
But a simple artwalk on two wheels it was not. It was helluva lot more than that. It was a street festival at Hel-Mel, it was a concert, at least four candidates in this coming Tuesday's municipal election showed up to represent, and there was even a (n illegal) fireworks display!
Much of the people came from elsewhere, but nothing wrong about that - part of the reason this was organized was to highlight East Hollywood. I did see the neighborhood Latino and Armenian kids and families either curious join in or extended the party to their front yards by putting up lights and blasting their own music.
I got to lead one of the four hourly bike rides through the neighborhood from Hel-Mel to art studios in the Cahuenga Library area to Sunset Junction - which is technically Silver Lake, but it's still East Hollywood Adjacent, to La Luz de Jesus gallery on Hollywood and a couple of private studios in Thai Town. My ride, which had over 20 people, left Hel-Mel at around 3 p.m.
Of course, myself being the "Hijo de E-Ho," I wanted to show off some of the 'hood...so I gave them the Director's Cut. The 1/5-hour ride turned into a 2-hour ride, not only stopping at the designated galleries and studios, but pointing out things like the histories of the Ukrainian Cultural Center, LACC, Thai Town, Little Armenia, and even Keifer Sutherland's secret lair (shhhh!), the lighting yard-cum-park to be and the "EAST HOLLYWOOD" advertising kiosk at Hollywood and Sunset.
The event attracted several hundred people. Not bad, eh?
It was a true community event. I got to re-connect with familiar faces in the community. I got to
connect with new people involved in the EHNC. I even met, for the first time, a neighbor of mine who lived in East Hollywood about as long as I have, and he even rocked his own Y-Que "East Hollywood" t-shirt. One of my friends turned up just because he read my Facebook status on ArtCycle!
Personally speaking, I'm real tickled. This is the first major event of the EHNC that I didn't have to directly plan and organize, and I'm actually happy about that - it's about damn time! Most of all it's gotten the "East Hollywood" name out there, as the event posters have attested, and it would leave no doubt to the visitors as to where and what E-Ho is. Kudos to Jen, Enci, everyone who helped out and look forward to ArtCycle 2010!