The Arroyo Arts Collective, a grassroots, community-based organization of artists and writers, has been working to bring together local artistic communities in Northeast LA and showcase their creativity for over 20 years, according to their website. After a five-year hiatus, the collective is bringing back their annual Discovery Tour Sept. 17. The tour provides the opportunity to experience the talent of its membership. For $15, the Discovery Tour, hosted in conjunction with Avenue 50 Studio, allows participants to see a variety of forms of artistic expression, including painting, jewelry and woodworking.
According to Jacque Lene Rogers-Engel, the project manager for the revival tour, the variety of the tour makes it unique. Rather than curating for a specific concept, everyone is welcome to present their work.
“It tends to be the one that we go ahead and we invite everybody to be in,” Rogers-Engel said. “I would say it is the one big thing that we do that really allows all the artists.”
According to Rogers-Engel, the event is an opportunity to see artists in action, engaging in the artistic process. The tour takes place across a variety of different locations, including the homes of several participating artists, she said.
“This has always been billed as an opportunity for you to be one-on-one with artists in their nests,” Rogers-Engel said.
Heather Hoggan, the co-president of the Arroyo Arts Collective, said the Discovery Tour is a way for local artists to come together and support each other.
“For the artists who are almost completely coming from out of the community, it’s a promotion of their work,” Hoggan said. “For people within the community, it’s an opportunity to really mix with a very creative, talented group of folks.”
Hoggan said that in the tour’s previous years, as many as 120 artists would come together to display their work across approximately 40 different locations.
“[Visiting every location on the tour] was way more than you could do in one day,” Hoggan said.
In the past, Hoggan said that members of the community designed their own tour, choosing which type of art they were interested in seeing and then driving around the area see the exhibits.
“It basically became a giant scavenger hunt,” Hoggan said.
This year, Rogers-Engel said, the discovery tour will be hosted on a smaller scale, with eight venues and 71 artists.
“This year, people could do the whole tour,” Rogers-Engel said. “I would definitely recommend it because you get not only such variety, but also to meet the different artists in their homes.”
Heather McLarty and Stuart Rapeport are two of the artists who will be showcasing their work at the tour. McLarty, a blacksmith, said a highlight of the tour is being able to give a live demonstration of her work.
“One of the things I love about being able to do this is just showing people that people still use their hands to make work,” McLarty said.
McLarty said that her house, which is one of the sites of the tour, will provide participants with the opportunity to see several hands-on projects in the making.
“You can come see a blacksmith at work, and a woodturner and a glass artist at work,” McLarty said.
Rapeport, a conceptual artist, said that the discovery tour is an opportunity to present some of his more offbeat works.
“I’m still juggling in my head what I’m gonna display,” Rapeport said. “I’ve been working on a project that’s sort of a fantasy project — to put a gambling ship on the LA river.”
According to Rapeport, the idea was inspired by a gambling ship that was once located off the Santa Monica coast. Instead, he said he is planning to display paintings relating to the concept.
Both Rapeport and McLarty said they are hopeful that their exhibits will have a positive impact on the community.
“[I’m hoping for] all these things that we talked about, like connecting people to each other and to the history of the neighborhood, and hopefully giving people some enthusiasm about living a creative life in whatever way that takes shape,” McLarty said.
The Discovery Tour will be based out of 131 North Avenue 50 on Saturday, Sept. 17. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online through Eventbrite. Maps will be available at the Avenue 50 studio on Sept. 17.