York's Grist Opens Doors to Artist In Everyone [Video]

The Art Grist, a newly opened artistic space on York Boulevard, hopes to provide a welcome spaces for all creative community members.

Located inside a former real estate office and next door to the L'Estralla Taco Truck, The Art Grist cuts an unimposing figure on York Boulevard.

Inside, the softly lit space seems almost as much like a preschool classroom as it does a gallery space for trained artists. That's partly because of Zen, the 10-year-old greyhound who greets visitors at the door.

It's the sort of place that curious passersby might feel invited to step in and admire the works of art hanging on the wall -- and that's exactly how owners Heather Newlin and Kristin Gunnarson like it.

"We're hoping to become an art community where people of all backgrounds and ages can come together to be creative," Newlin, a Highland Park resident said. "We want people to explore different types of expressions. So, we're not painting heavy or a sculpture heavy or anything like that."

Newlin and Gunnarson, who lives in Eagle Rock, met several years ago while teaching at Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts. Gunnarson has a painting degree and a background in Fashion Design, Newlin is a painter and interior designer with a degree in art history. Both enjoyed teaching, and were hoping to start doing so on their own terms. That's how the Art Grist was born.

Since opening in November, the Art Grist has hosted camps for youngsters and craft classes for community members of all ages and skill levels.

"That's kind of our speciality, Gunnarson said. "We're used to working with kids. Did summer camp in Griffith Park for four summers."

Later this month, Gunnarson and Newlin are hoping to reach out to an even broader cross-section of the neighborhood. On Sunday, Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Newlin and Gunnarson will host a pay-what-you-wish party/fundraiser. Attendees will be greeted with brushes, paint and other artistic implements and asked to paint on a canvas that will be installed on the Art Grist's inside walls.

The tentative theme for the event is "What do you Love About Highland Park."

Gunnarson and Newlin said that, while many artistic spaces made passing nods to the notion of community engagement, they're making that effort the core mission of the Art Grist.

"We like the idea of a mix of people. I think a really talented artist can learn a lot from a five-year-old. There's a lot to be said from getting the rawness from someobdy who hasn't traiend for many years," Newlin said. "And at the same time, the 5-year-old can get something from the well trained artist."

Ish January 11, 2013 at 07:06 AM
I don't mind art studios/galleries, but how many do we really need in one area? I know of a couple more currently in the works.
Nimby pimp January 11, 2013 at 03:56 PM
We need more. As many as possible.
Resident_90042 January 11, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Nimby Pimp. I agree with you. We need more! This art studio is different from York because it focuses around kids and families which is great. There are tons of new families moving to highland park with all the homes being rehabbed around the area. This is a great addition to the neighborhood. Give me more galleries and less party stores and taco stands. We have tons of those on york already.
RK January 11, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Shoots... if they can make it work/last, have at it!
ManSky January 11, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Not sure why you made that comment. Do you want another repair shop instead? a party store? and just how much control do you think you have about who settles on York? Art galleries are like crocuses. They herald gentrification which, if you haven't noticed, is well under way in Eagle Rock and Highland Park (also something that you probably won't have any effect in changing). In 20 years (if you're around), you'll probably pen a comment about the loss of the galleries to chic restaurants, artisanal bakeries and boutique marijuana galleries. Save your energy, now, and later. Embrace change, or move.
starchy January 12, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Does anybody know what is going on at that one old gas station on York and mt. pleasant near the Highland Park Motel? Looks like it is being rehabbed and fixed up.
Ish January 12, 2013 at 07:41 AM
I made this comment because I can. Who the hell are you to ask why? I don't notice anything about controlling York on my comment. Get your head out of you a.. "Save your energy, now, and later. Embrace change, or move." This is hilarious. A sheep from the herd telling someone to move. Why don't you go back? How's that?
Reggie February 19, 2013 at 06:24 AM
Zen is a Whippet.


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