Festival For All Skid Row Artists by the LAPD is an annual police initiative to help inspire respect for the law through personal creativity. That’s not true. What is true is the LAPD (Los Angeles Poverty Department) along with the United Coalition East Prevention Project and Lamp Community’s Fine Arts Program turned Gladys Park in Skid Row during the day into a welcoming space of community creativity.
Stuffed fuzzy words on clothespins changing whenever someone had something to say greeted all those entering the park where Skid Row artists signed up for slots to sing, rap, play music, present poetry – offering themselves and their message in a wide variety of performing arts. Artwork hung on fences and cement walls with a table for children to create paintings as part of the festival.
John Malpede founded the Los Angeles Poverty Department in 1985. Part of the Skid Row community for 27 years, his involvement began around the corner from Gladys Park at the Catholic Worker.
By Tom Grode