Leimert Park is on the brink of a “third renaissance.”
That’s what Ben Caldwell, an artist and educator who many community members call “the father of Leimert Park,” says about this neighborhood in the Crenshaw District of South Los Angeles.
When the famed Brockman Gallery opened in the 1960s, Leimert Park cradled the arts movement in the Black community. Then in the late 1980s and early 1990s, places including Fifth Street Dick’s, a jazz café, along with the World Stage music venue and the Comedy Act Theater, attracted musicians, writers and comedians from all over the country.
Leimert Park fell into decline following the 1992 riots. Now, change is underway yet again. By 2019, an 8.5 mile light rail line is slated to connect Leimert Park to Inglewood and the Los Angeles International Airport. Leimert Park once again blooms with hope and optimism as locals strategize to preserve the area’s Black cultural identity.
World-renowned artists like Mark Bradford are investing in the neighborhood, art spaces like Papillion have opened and older institutions like Kaos Network are making bold renovation plans that could usher in a new era of cultural revival.
In offering events ranging from art walks to youth workshops, Leimert Park aims to attract business owners and entertainment seekers alike, providing a rich cultural experience they might not find anywhere else in the city.
In the following multimedia pieces, Intersections explores the creative minds and spaces of this historic community just south of the 10 Freeway.