The 2019 +LAB Artist Residency is a creative place-keeping residency that will focus on addressing the most recent cycle of displacement that is affecting Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. We are seeking community-engaged artists who will help LTSC successfully advocate for the responsible development of two highly contested parcels of land owned by the City of Los Angeles: First Street North (FSN) and the Mangrove block (Mangrove). While Little Tokyo has been physically and culturally reshaped by several well-documented cycles of displacement, these blocks (which include 5+ acres of developable land) represent an opportunity for the neighborhood to counteract these cycles through the implementation of the community’s vision for this land.
This year’s cohort of four artists will work together with Little Tokyo stakeholders and residents in a three-month immersive residency to create a project or projects based on this theme.
The overarching question for artists to consider is:
How can creative strategies and artistic interventions positively impact the devastation caused by past and present development that threaten the sustainability of our community:
LTSC +LAB’s vision is that selected artists will create an achievable project outcome which meets one of the following two criteria:
1. Projects should be designed to refine the community’s vision for these sites via interactive engagement and artistic collaboration with community members and stakeholders—particularly those who are traditionally left out of planning processes (low income residents, small business owners, people experiencing homelessness)
2. Projects should be designed to encourage the City of Los Angeles to implement the Little Tokyo’s vision for the subject sites and/or call attention to the legacy of displacement as a means to underscore the importance of the community vision.
These projects should also be designed in a way that they can be sustained by the community after the conclusion of the residency period.
Artists applying could look at various approaches to the residency to inspire and encourage the Little Tokyo community. We are open to participants’ interpretation of the theme, however a few examples are:
The +LAB Artist Residency is a community based, engaged residency, with a generous stipend and project budget. The residency is fully immersive: selected artists will live for three months in the Daimaru Hotel on First Street in Little Tokyo and will be paired with a local arts organization: Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Sustainable Little Tokyo, Visual Communications, or the Japanese American National Museum.
Artists will work as a cohort and have a shared workshop. Studio space or other work space may be procured based on the needs of the project. Artists are expected to work with the community and their non-profit host organizations as collaborators. The cohort of artists will work with guidance from local artists and specialists from the Little Tokyo community, and each residency artist will have great leeway to bring their ideas and talents to this residency program in our unique community, Little Tokyo.
Artists will stay in a small private bedroom in the Daimaru Hotel in the heart of Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles. The Daimaru Hotel is an historic Single Room Occupancy Hotel owned by the Little Tokyo Service Center with deep roots in the Little Tokyo community. The Hotel has long-term residents from the Little Tokyo community, and some short-term rooms for visitors. It is clean and well maintained, with artwork in the halls and in the rooms. The rooms are basic, bathrooms and the kitchen are shared spaces and are down the hallway from the rooms.. The kitchen is heavily utilized by all residents and can be challenging to fully use depending on your personal cooking/eating habits. We advise being prepared to use some of the stipend to eat out occasionally, there are many great and affordable restaurants nearby as well as grocery stores. The residency also provides a storefront space on the ground floor for the residents where there is a refrigerator, microwave, and coffeemaker. Residents can store and prepare some food there as well as in the kitchen. This is a historic building that is not ADA compliant. If an accepted applicant needs ADA compliant accommodations we will discuss on a case by case basis.
We highly recommend you review the Daimaru Hotel when considering the residency.
There is Wireless Internet in the storefront space for the artists. Wireless in the hotel is spotty.
The co-host organizations (JACCC, VC, SLT, JANM) will provide technical support for the artists. Depending on discipline, project or need, they may provide work or office space but this will be determined closer to the residency date. LTSC and the partner organizations will aim to ensure artists have all they need in order to fully execute their work.
The residency offers a generous monthly stipend, designed to help cover costs of the residency.
There is a travel budget if needed, up to $500 for a one time RT travel to Los Angeles and back from the artists CA residence.
We provide a budget for projects and materials up to $6500. Project funds will first be submitted as a budget with a project proposal for approval to LTSC and check requests submitted, as funds are needed. Artists are encouraged to bring their own tools such as personal computers, printers, cameras, or any specialty equipment that is part of their practice they expect they will need.
Artists should look in to having health coverage while here. If they do not have it, please look into purchasing temporary travelers health insurance. We will help you with this if selected.
There is no on-site parking at the hotel. We will try to help you find a local parking lot, or the local co-host organization might be able to help. Often artist have use their stipends to pay for monthly parking if they choose to bring a car which is about $140/month. There are zip cars in the area, rental scooters, and bus and metro lines nearby.
Artists are expected to sign a Memo of Understanding prior to the residency with LTSC that will request them to: participate in an orientation for the residency; engage fully with the Little Tokyo community; attend all scheduled cohort meetings; participate in all requested public relations efforts; and participate in any public outreach events scheduled by Little Tokyo Service Center for the program including a public culminating event if scheduled.
To have a better understanding of the theme of the residency, Ending Cycles of displacement, we recommend that the applicant look at these links and understand the history of Little Tokyo and the context of the issues the theme speaks to. This will help you in answering the questions in the application.
Established in 1884, Little Tokyo is Los Angeles’ second oldest neighborhood and the largest of four remaining Japantowns in the United States. The neighborhood continues to serve as a cultural center for Japanese Americans across Southern California and the nation. In its 133-year history Little Tokyo has withstood numerous acts of displacement including the forced removal and incarceration of people of Japanese descent during World War II and the demolition of whole tracts of housing, businesses, churches, and temples that occurred during the city’s urban renewal and civic center expansion of the 1950s through 1970s. Today, what remains of Little Tokyo is roughly nine square blocks. The latest threat to the cultural and historic identity of Little Tokyo comes in the form of the market rate housing boom in Downtown LA, which is making the neighborhood less accessible to individuals and families of all incomes. Commercial rents have also risen, forcing out longtime small business owners.
For an overview of what is happening in Little Tokyo, please read this Los Angeles Downtown News article; Development, Food and the Future of Little Tokyo -A Historic Neighborhood Wrestles With Change and ‘Growth’ that contains an interview with the leadership from Little Tokyo Service Center:
Another background source is this overview and history about displacement and revival in Little Tokyo.
LTSC feels the community of Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles faces a looming threat to its future sustainability. The City of Los Angeles currently plans to allow development on one of its properties (commonly referred to as “First Street North”) that is situated next to the historic commercial heart of Little Tokyo. In the wrong hands, development could fundamentally transform the area with irreversible impacts on the neighborhood.
The First Street North property that the City plans to offer developers was once part of Little Tokyo. It sits immediately north of the Little Tokyo Historic District. Any development on the First Street North block should enhance and sustain Little Tokyo’s vibrant culture and economy. The Little Tokyo community has formulated a plan for First Street North and is currently seeking authority from the City to develop the site.
Additionally there is the Mangrove site, also a city owned property, which has been contested and slated for development. It too can shape the future of Little Tokyo in either a positive or negative way. What is important is that Little Tokyo has a say in how this site is developed. LTSC feels artists can bring out of the box thinking to how this might happen. To learn more about this location and its history, click Big Plans for Mangrove Property.
The co-hosting partners in the program are the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center; Japanese American National Museum; Visual Communications; and Sustainable Little Tokyo. Please look at these organizations whom you may be involved with.
The 2019 residency application has closed.
Isak Immanuel and Marina Fukushima
Isak Immanuel and Marina Fukushima have worked together on several uniquely composed intergenerational dance performances. Focused on local/global questions of place, family, community, and instability, projects have been researched and presented in the SF Bay Area and internationally, including at Headlands Center for the Arts, NOHspace, CounterPulse, Kinosaki International Art Center, and TPAM (Tokyo/Yokohama Performing Arts Meeting). In 2018, they collaborated with locals to develop “THINGS EVAPORATE – dances of sickness and health” as artist-in-residents in Beppu, Japan. Marina Fukushima was born in Tokyo and immigrated to the US in 1992. Specializing in Dance, she received a BFA from Butler University (2001) and an MFA from the University of Iowa (2005). Isak Immanuel grew up in Taos, New Mexico and East Los Angeles. He founded Tableau Stations, an intercultural arts platform, in 2004. He received a BFA in Interdisciplinary Practices from California College of the Arts (1999).
traci kato-kiriyama – an award-winning artist, cultural producer, and community organizer, is the principal author of PULLproject Ensemble, who just concluded the world premiere of their latest play, TALES OF CLAMOR at the Aratani Theatre Black Box in Little Tokyo. traci is also the director/co-founder of Tuesday Night Project, presenter of Tuesday Night Café, now entering its 21st year as the oldest Asian American public art series in the country. For over the past twenty years, traci has been presented as an author, performer/actor, arts & culture specialist, Artist-in-Residence, educator, and community organizer by hundreds of venues across the nation (incl. The Getty Foundation; Hammer Museum; Skirball Cutural Center; Asian Arts Initiative; LaMaMa Cabaret; Smithsonian D.C.), and published and featured in several print, online and media platforms (incl. Tia Chucha; Chapparal Canyon; Bamboo Ridge; Regent Press; Elle.com; The Hollywood Reporter; KPCC; C-SPAN; NPR; PBS).
Misael Diaz and Amy Sanchez Arteaga (a.k.a. the Cog•nate Collective)
Since 2010, Cog•nate Collective has worked across disciplines and mediums to engage transnational communities in dialogue on subjects relating to migration, economic displacement, and border enforcement.
Undertaken as collaborations with community leaders, students and/or non-profit organizations, their work takes on forms that include “protest-art-making” workshops in Swap Meets, performative tours narrating histories of immigrant communities confronting gentrification, and roving hyper-local radio stations.
Their most recent projects reimagine modalities for understanding and enacting citizenship: analyzing ways that individuals and communities (re)claim their agency – in quotidian spaces, through everyday actions – in defiance of political (de)limitations.
Cog•nate has shown and presented at various venues nationally and internationally including the Ben Maltz Gallery, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, CSUF Grand Central Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, School of the Art Institute Chicago, Arte Actual FLACSO in Quito, and the Organ Kritischer Kunst in Berlin.
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