Boyle Heights art space closing — but not because of anti-gentrification campaign

Protesters want 356 Mission art and performance space to close

BOYLE HEIGHTS — 356 Mission, one of the Boyle Heights art spaces and galleries that had been targeted by anti-gentrification activists, will be closing at the end of May, the L.A. Times reports.

The owners, artist Laura Owens and bookseller Wendy Yao, said the upcoming closure was not motivated by anti-gentrification forces that say art spaces like 356 encourage gentrification and displacement of low-income and minority residents.

“It was just time,” Yao told the Times. “It was a labor of love, with finite resources, and never intended to last forever,” said a statement issued to the Times.

Last November, Owens, who lives in Echo Park, responded to gentrification activists who demonstrated at the opening of her show at the Whitney Museum in New York, chanting “Leave our hoods and do what’s right: Give your keys to Boyle Heights!”

Owens said efforts to talk with the protesters had failed to yield any positive results. Instead, she said death threats were left in voicemail messages and demands were made to abandon the space, which opened five years ago in an industrial and warehouse area along Mission Road.

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