The Elysian Valley Arts Collective (EVAC) operates in Elysian Valley, a neighborhood defined by strong boundaries – the Los Angeles River runs along the eastern side and the 5 freeway defines the western side of the area. The north ends at Fletcher Street, a major artery, and the point at which the LA River turns and cuts close to the hills of Elysian Park defines the south.
The area was traditionally a working class neighborhood of small bungalows on very small lots. When the 5 Freeway was built, the city re-zoned the residential properties bordering the river to create a new industrial area. The freeway construction demolished the commercial center of the community and effectively cut it off from the neighboring districts, leaving limited points of access into the neighborhood. The new industries provided jobs for local residents, but also brought heavy trucks, pollution, and noise to the quiet community. As heavy industry started to leave LA, the small-scale warehouses and factories left behind in Elysian valley attracted artists and crafts people to the area.
The EVAC was founded in 2008 as an umbrella organization to support the Frogtown Artwalk and a number of events related to arts and to arts education. We received funding from Council District 13, the local neighborhood council (a volunteer advisory board to the City Council), and from local businesses.
"….she sat, sight read & played violin sheet music of the teacher's choosing. He rubbed his temples like he was in pain & for a moment & she felt insulted as she was actually proud of herself & thought she'd played very well. Then he said, "You can't stay in this class." This upset her greatly until he said, "This class is for beginners & you belong in advanced." She is over the moon & brimming with the confidence we wish we'd had at that age. This one fantastic thing undid all the humiliating things that had happened to her & she has rewritten her first week of middle school as a complete success!! And it's all thanks to EVAC making these summer lessons happen for her!!!"
EVAC Scholarship Recipient, Blaire Lennane in 2014
"The formation of the Elysian Valley Arts Collective, a 501c(3) non-profit, created a professional basis for the Artwalk and other educational projects, as well as a formal identity for local artists.
I have been an active member of Artwalk for over 10 years. I can attest to how this community project is expertly managed, involving thousands of local and city participants and always with enthusiasm and dedication. The preparation efforts are incredible. The entire community begs to join. In preparation the entire neighborhood is cleaned up: all the streets are swept, sidewalk trash is picked up, our local parks are raked, leaves bagged and even lights and decorations mounted."
Community Member, Bob Berg in 2019