BOYLE HEIGHTS — Art lovers and patrons descended on Anderson Street and Mission Road last Saturday for exhibition openings at several new galleries that have popped up in the industrial lowlands of Boyle Heights. But as the art crowd gathered inside brightly illuminated galleries, protesters marched outside on darkened streets, banging on gallery windows and demanding the art spaces move out of the neighborhood, according to videos posted on the Defend Boyle Heights Facebook page. “Get out. You don’t belong here,” one person yells in a video.
Saturday’s demonstration reflect the ongoing tensions surrounding the opening of the galleries, including outposts operated by New York art dealers and even a Hollywood talent agency, in the western portion of Boyle Heights.
Videos from Saturday night’s protest showed demonstrators, some of them wearing masks, chanting “Fuera, Fuera, Fuera” [Get Out] as persons who appeared to be gallery visitors or staff milled about.
Another video shows gallery patrons looking out a window as demonstrators bang on the glass and chant, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, these gentrifiers have got to go.” Another video shows a woman, apparently associated with the Venus gallery, rolling down the shutters of the space. A demonstrator tells her: “We want you to get out of her neighborhood.” Others yell “Get the fuck out” as persons who appear to be either gallery workers or guests walk down the streets.
The Defend Boyle Heights Facebook page claims at least two of the galleries were forced to close their opening receptions amid the protests.
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