When the Outreach Committee of the Reseda Neighborhood Council was in the process of planning the ‘Reseda’ show at Continental Art Supplies in 2013, two things evolved from the planning process.
The show quickly went from being a visual art show inspired by Reseda to a rock n’ roll retrospective from the 80s, plus an art show. As more people expressed an interest in participating, more was revealed about the history of Reseda when it was the music hub of the Valley in the 80s. With Sal Guitarez’s photos and stories from when he was the house photographer at The Country Club, Richard Bruland’s recreation of his wall of posters and stories of running Bebop Records, Levi Ponce’s Renaissance mural of Michelangelo, and over 400 people in attendance, we knew that we had to keep going with more events like this (read more about “Reseda” in the Daily News: Reseda art show recalls community’s rock n roll days and Art show to celebrate Reseda’s rock n roll history, and a preview in ArtweekLA) . We kept referring to the new energy, new leadership, and the many new ideas that people kept bringing to us as a renaissance. At the ‘Reseda’ event, we asked people to write on a white board what a Reseda Renaissance looked like to them. Here are some of the answers:
- Future cultural Mecca of the SFV
- Something we all want
- A place to gather where art is everywhere, live music is played and maybe danced to, a poet could rap, an author can read from her book, we could have a town hall meeting or a glass of wine with people we love
- We need music, music, music for Reseda and the whole Valley at live concerts and clubs
- Great people in a great neighborhood
- Happy and fun place to look at awesome art
- Walking from my house to experience live music any night
- More music made in Reseda
- A way to see old friends
- Bring back The Country Club
- Drive in theatre
- Art Galleries
- Bring back Heavy Metal Thursdays
- A new, art filled Reseda
Like the Italian Renaissance of the fifteenth century, Reseda really is ripe for a burst of new ideas, innovation, and ingenuity. We have the talent, we have the place, we have the history, and we have plenty of people who want to see this happen. The Reseda Renaissance is a grassroots effort by various different stakeholders working towards a common goal – to recreate Reseda through the arts. Individuals, businesses, artists, arts groups, as well as the Reseda Neighborhood Council, all working together to reawaken Reseda.
It has been proven over and over again that by infusing the arts into floundering communities that people will not only visit those communities, they will spend money in those communities once they are there. Live music, public art, galleries, venues and art happenings for people to congregate and share ideas is not only good for the arts, artists, and art lovers, it’s good for everybody. Arts centered communities are vibrant, active, and proud communities.
We can not only resurrect the Reseda music scene, we can create much, much more with murals and public art installations that people will want to drive to Reseda to see, special arts events that will bring the entire Reseda community together and invigorate the local economy, and get surrounding communities talking about Reseda. This happened with the ‘Reseda’ event on August 3, 2013. Twice as many people attended than was expected. It was a reunion for many. Continental Art Supplies stayed open for three extra hours and made money. The Athenian Grill and Carniceria Corona sold food, and the Reseda High School Robotics Club sold soft drinks and bottled waters as a fundraiser. We got a lot of positive media attention. It was a win win all the way around, marking the start of the Reseda Renaissance, leaving behind Reseda’s Dark Ages.
What makes Reseda so ideal for a transformation is that it is located in the middle of the Valley, with plenty of vacant spaces ready to be filled. After Reseda was abandoned by shoppers who drove west to the mall, and then later by the CRA, it has struggled to regain it’s destination status. With the Mayor’s Great Street Initiative, Councilman Bob Blumenfield’s Reseda Rising Initiative, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative’s contract with Studio One Eleven to improve the business district on Sherman Way, and creative entrepreneurship, Reseda can rise again as a destination place in the San Fernando Valley.
Reseda is ripe for change. We’re independent and funky, we have the most diverse population in all of Los Angeles, we don’t have a powerful elite minority who dominates the direction of the Reseda, and we have a dedicated group of people with talent and experience to help drive this vision forward.