LAXART to Establish First Permanent Home
April 6th, 2022
Los Angeles contemporary art nonprofit LAXART has revealed plans a permanent home, its first since the organization’s founding in 2005. Occupying a single-story brick-and-concrete structure on Western Boulevard in LA’s up-and-coming Melrose Hills neighborhood, the space will open to the public this fall and will feature more than twice the square footage of LAXART’s current digs, a disused recording studio dating to 1928 which will shutter at the end of June.
“A permanent home gives us the opportunity to reimagine what an alternative art space can be while putting down roots in an evolving cultural capital like Los Angeles,” noted LAXART director Hamza Walker. “The uncertain, early days of the pandemic instigated some institutional soul searching, forcing us to identify and squarely confront deeper, more systemic challenges. The most fundamental of these was to secure a permanent home. For most mid-scale nonprofit arts organizations, this isn’t so much a challenge as it is a dream. We successfully met a major challenge head-on, and in doing so, we achieved a dream.”
Design and construction of the space are being overseen by LAXART board member John Frane, design principal of HGA Architects, working in conjunction with the nonprofit’s staff and board members. The completed structure will comprise 5,000 feet of flexible exhibition space, naturally lit by skylights; expanded space for educational and community program; shared staff workspace; and, occupying a repurposed loading dock and parking lot, an outdoor area to be used for performances, events, installations, and social gatherings.
“This is more than just a new building,” said artist and LAXART board member Glenn Ligon in a statement. “It is a blank canvas that will allow us to give artists the freedom to experiment with new formats and develop innovative public programs.” The $5 million effort is 50 percent funded thus far, thanks to major fiscal donations by board members and others, and to donations by artists, who gifted paintings that were sold by Christie’s to raise money for the space; the auction house kicked in some cash as well. These funds as well as those yet to be raised will cover the cost of the purchase and redesign of the building, as well as LAXART’s first year of programming in the space.