Get A Kids-Eye View of LA’s Street Art Scene

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Not all art is in museums!  LA has always had a great love for street art, and is one of the mural capitals of the world. Whether it’s through commissioned works or good old-fashioned graffiti, our vibrant public art movement is stronger than ever. Little ones will especially dig this medium as it opens their imaginations to the idea that anything and everything can be their canvas (warning: this may include the family dog).

LA Street Art Jackphoto credit: Jennifer O’Brien (art by Alec Monopoly on Melrose Ave. & Kilkea)

The Downtown Arts District
The Downtown Arts Disctrict features some of the most magnetic street art in town—especially at the triangle intersection of Traction Ave. and 3rd Street which offers a breathtaking panoramic view. From this one point, tots can check out cartoon inspired works by Dabs and Myla and get lost in the intricate Teddy Bears of How and Nosm (Cream of the Crop, 2011). Further down Traction Ave., kiddos can get up close and personal with Tristan Eaton’s work (I Was a Botox Junkie, 2014). The piece is layered in a way that makes it fun for tikes to spot cartoon character’s hiding underneath.

It’s also a wonderful way to get kids involved in uncovering the artistic process for themselves, all through a tactile experience. Continuing along 3rd Street, families can also visit a piece by renowned artist Shepard Fairey (Peace Goddess, 2009), and enjoy an effervescent and whimsical work by Kim West (The One with The Bubbles, 2012).

9 Tristan Eatonphoto credit: Graff Tours (art by Tristan Eaton on Traction Ave.)

Melrose & Fairfax Area
The Melrose and Fairfax neighborhood also offers myriad opportunities for families to discover some amazing street art together. Behind Shorty’s Barber Shop on Fairfax, check out a colorful ode to the comic book genre by artist, MadMan. Further down Melrose at Spaulding, uncover graffiti art with a message in “Hugs Not Shoves” painted high on the side of a building by artist, Thrashbird. On the opposite side of Melrose behind World of Vintage Tees, kiddos will love seeing a Dalmatian puppy playfully pulling a boy on a skateboard by artist, Bumblebee. Another must-see for tikes is the “Where the Wild Things Are” mural by the PDB Crew on Melrose and Stanley. Your peanut galley will no doubt squeal with delight seeing this beloved children’s book come to life in such a big way. (And it makes for a swell photo op.)

IMG_2104photo credit: Jennifer O’Brien (art by PDB Crew on Melrose Ave. & Stanley)

La Brea
La Brea Ave. offers wonderful opportunities for some art hunting too, starting with a visit to LAB ART, the country’s largest art gallery dedicated to street art. Showcasing over 300 works of art by the medium’s most well-known names, as well as artists on the rise, LAB ART provides a comprehensive education on the history of street art and provides a glimpse of where the movement’s headed for future generations to come. While you’re on La Brea, be sure to stop by Shepard Fairey’s mural at 2nd St. and keep a lookout for tons of other works by other emerging artists up and down the avenue.

IMG_2108photo credit: Jennifer O’Brien (art by Shepard Fairey on La Brea Ave.)

Street Art Tour and Classes
For families looking for a little more in-depth look at the street art scene, check out LA’s Graff Tour– a 90-minute walking tour designed to provide guests with a fun and engaging entry into discovering street art. Using an open-ended inquiry-based approach, tours are interactive and super educational, holding kids’ interest from beginning till end. Aspiring Banksy’s will learn more about the history of street art, its importance in the community and see a variety of street art mediums that are kid-friendly, but also still intellectually stimulating for mom and dad.

Graff Tours also offers workshops upon request that provide little ones with a safe and fun experimentation with different mediums of street art. The workshops encourage learning the history and cultural significance of street art, while allowing kids to get a hands-on understanding of how street art is created.  For example, tots might have an opportunity to make stencils, stickers or posters and work with acrylic paints and a spray gun, rather than aerosols.
Graff Tours
Phone: 201-397-9138
217 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, Ca 90036
Phone: 323-9331021
Traction and 3rd

photo credit: Graff Tours (art at Traction Ave. and 3rd St.)

Where are some of your kiddos’ favorite street art spots around town? We’d love to know in the comments below.
–Jennifer O’Brien