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November 2, 2017

Attracting People to the District to Spend More Time and Money

In 2015, the LA Fashion District was on the fringe of a development wave sweeping through downtown Los Angeles. Traditionally 9 to 5 area, now there was an influx of residents and downtown visitors making it clear that the district needed more amenities. Most noticeably, the neighborhood lacked places to hang out, sit and rest. Mall developers call these " dwell spaces."  Dwell space results in people spending more time in an area, which results in more buying. 

As the BID looked to creatively address these issues, and support its businesses, it took on a new initiative under the marketing program - Space Activation. The initiative re-envisions underutilized public spaces and programs them with events and art, creating community meeting points, showing off local businesses and developments, and creating "buzz" for the district. It marked the start of the BID's ongoing relationship with public art and our first-ever community event - An Urban Dinner Party.

Envision the Fashion District After Hours: An Urban Dinner Party
An Urban Dinner Party was established to bring the fashion district community together and re-envision what public space in the district could look like - after hours. To date, the event has sold out every year and generated hundreds of thousands of impressions on social and local media.

The 3rd annual An Urban Dinner Party was hosted in the City Market South piazza on Thursday, October 12, 2017. 128 guests were seated at a communal table and enjoyed a four-course meal by Chef Steve Samson of Rossoblu, one of City Market South's new restaurants and a highly regarded addition to the Los Angeles culinary scene. (In fact, LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold just named Rossoblu the 10th best restaurant in Los Angeles.) District 14 Councilmember Jose Huizar was in attendance, as well as Fashion District board members, property owners, residents, vendors, shoppers, and visitors. This year's event also helped raise funds for the newly launched LA Fashion District Public Art Program.

The previous two events were held on Santee Street between 8th Street and Santee Village. The BID hopes to continue moving the event throughout the district as new businesses and developments move into the area.

photo by Piero F Giunti
Create Space for Hanging Out: Santee Winter Wonderland
How does one create a public space in a neighborhood that has none, during the busiest shopping season? With Santa! In December 2016, the BID launched a pilot community event for the holiday season - Santee Winter Wonderland. By temporarily closing 11th Street between Santee and Maple Avenue, the BID created an inviting space for shoppers to rest, eat, and play while doing their holiday shopping. The event featured free "Selfies with Santa" and family activities like face painting, balloon art, and jumbo games. Businesses in the area were able to participate by setting up booths for the event, offering discounts on merchandise and giveaways.  The 2017 Santee Winter Wonderland will be held on Saturday, December 9th. 

photo by Piero F Giunti
Bring Creativity to the Public Space: Public Art
As the creative center of the city, the Fashion District has long been known for the inspired industry and people who call it home. The BID has been using art to visually display the community's creative energy. 

The Coral Forest art installation debuted during Downtown Art Walk in 2016 and had a summer residency at The Wall Farmer's Market. The backdrop and signage for Santee Winter Wonderland are actually artwork by Fashion District artist Mikolaj. The BID also helps facilitate murals in the district, like Teddy Kelly at 8th and Los Angeles St and can assist property owners interested in commissioning artwork for their properties connect with the appropriate city agencies.

The public art program mentioned above, will eventually fund additional public art in the district.

What's Next?
The BID plans to grow the space activation initiative into a full programming and events schedule that will invite the public to experience the Fashion District's public spaces and businesses in a new way. This will include partnerships and facilitating bringing existing events into the district, like the recent Pacific Standard Time LA/LA mobile art truck exhibit at Werdin Place during the October Art Walk.

Interested in helping us shape these new initiatives or participating in any of our upcoming events? Contact Ariana Gomez at ariana@fashiondistrict.org or 213-488-1153 ext. 718.

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