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Arts and Entertainment

Interview: Michael Salerno on this Weekend's Brewery Art Walk

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Michael Salerno

Michael Salerno
By Daood Obaid, Special to LAist

The Brewery Artwalk, now in its 27th year taking place this weekend, is a twice annual open studio event at the world’s largest art colony with over 150 resident artists participating. During the event, you will have the opportunity to see new works, discover new favorites, and speak with the artists and purchase work directly from the artists at studio prices. Michael Salerno is an artist and a representative of The Brewery Artwalk who helped orient us to the event.

How’s everything Michael?

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Just great, thanks. Springtime is the art world’s busy season.

Michael how did the industrial buildings of a brewery and bottling plant become an Art Colony?

The current owners purchased the former Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery with the intent to tear it down, recycle the materials and then develop new projects. A handful of artists asked if they could rent space, temporarily, until demolition began. There turned out to be a strong demand for studio spaces. The owners decided to convert the existing buildings, rather than knock them down and start from scratch.

Haven’t yet seen the Art Colony, could you describe in detail the physical terrain and why hundreds of artists enjoy this haven?

The Brewery Art Colony is a complex of 22 buildings on 23 acres near downtown Los Angeles. Some of the structures date back to 1888, while others have been completed within the past few years. Early buildings housed the old Eastside Brewery and Edison Power Plant, later known as Los Angeles Power Station #3. The grounds include park areas and open spaces.

From what I’ve heard the Art Colony has a great used bookstore?

Yes, it’s called Book Finger. Used, rare and out-of-print books. Art, photography, design and a special section about true crime stories.

Who are the oldest and youngest residents of the Art Colony (If you could include both genre’s of art work)

Three of most experienced artists are Llyn Foulkes, Gloria Longval and Roland Reiss. Each has been exhibiting art for 50 or more years. Their resumes include major museums world wide. The spectrum covers classical portraiture, cutting edge contemporary work, through three dimensional content driven picture making. The youngest artist, Jason, is 2 years old and specializes in finger painting.

Are there other artists you definitely don’t want to miss while attending the ArtWalk?

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Wow, there are way too many to single out. The artists that have done the most, in recent years, to help promote the Brewery Artwalk are Ada Brown, Iva Hladis, Jill Sykes, Jean Towgood, Ted Meyer, Claudia Endler and Leigh Salgado.

For men and women, parents, children and students contemplating attending the ArtWalk what would you say to further convince them why they shouldn’t pass up this event?

The work on display by Brewery tenants covers the full spectrum from ultra-sophisticated to colorful and fun. A great chance to check out the facilities artists work in.

What if someone's dying for a good meal during the event?

“Barbara’s at the Brewery”serves sandwiches, great grilled items and full meals. Beverages of all kinds too.

So, admission for adults and children is free. What of parking and its location to the Brewery? Are dogs allowed?

Our next door neighbor, UPS, has generously donated the use of their huge parking lot for the convenience of our guests. Doors open at 11:00am. Arrival before noon is recommended for closest parking. Unfortunately, many of the studios are also people’s homes, so dogs are not invited.

Well I’ll definitely be in attendance and hope to meet you but you’ll have to describe what you look like and possibly what you’ll be wearing so I can recognize you?

Ha, ha! You’ll have to locate me on the map. The event is so huge, there is no chance that we’ll accidentally bump into each other.

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