By happy accident I am involved in staging an art-auction fundraiser for the Echo Park Historical Society. It’s going to be held this week at Metro Gallery on Hyperion in Silver Lake. Metro is owned by Juan Garcia, who lives in Echo Park. Juan offered use of the gallery in the first auction planning meeting. All present said yes, and I never thought about it again except to be grateful until I heard that people are asking why the event is not being held at one of the galleries in Echo Park proper. It’s a fair question, and, as I said, one that wasn’t asked in committee. I know that I for one was glad to have walls and a roof for the event. After all, we may have had to hold it in Elysian Park, with each piece of art being held aloft by a designated volunteer, which would transformed a simple silent art-auction fundraiser into a dance-performance-art-auction evening under the stars. And I don’t think we could have served wine and beer in the park. But it would have been a lovely sight, all of that art swaying in the arms of our friends.
And what if the event is held outside the walls of Echo? Does it dilute our self-conception? Compromise the boundaries? Do we ask the taggers, or the real estate agents who have dropped the effort to call Echo Park Silver Lake or, at the least, Silver Lake-adjacent?
As for the galleries, most of the Echo Park galleries have moved downtown. Or closed. The commercial gallery scene in Echo Park has been replaced by boutiques, for the moment at least. Granted, many of the boutiques use their wall space to show artists work. And the coffeehouse Chango right now has an exhibition by an artist named Bonaparte who is quite good – and obviously prolific, judging by the huge number of works cramming the walls.
The neighborhood has no shortage of artists in residence. And there are numerous studios that are sometimes used as galleries. But I know of none large enough for what we were planning. So the interstate highway of friendship and personal connections led us out of the neighborhood -- to Silver Lake! – to honor Echo Park.
The art auction will open August 16, with a “gala” closing on Saturday, August 19 from 7 to 10 pm. Free valet parking; $5 requested at the door.
Metro Gallery: 1835 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles.
Not for sale: Garage door mural on Echo Park Blvd.
Photo by Cindy Bennett