A bagpiper warms up for the first Joel Bloom Memorial: July 2007.
Joel Bloom Square is a Downtown street corner named after an Arts District activist––who was also a Vietnam war veteran.
As a member of the Air Force, Joel Bloom documented soldiers' lives on the ground and in the air as a filmmaker. Being a witness of the destruction of villages always stayed with him, he later said to me and others.
Soon after being discharged, Bloom found himself in the pre-named Arts District during the 1980s, a time when the neighborhood was known for experimental art, theater, and music.
He opened a general store to provide services for other artists working and living in converted warehouses. Bloom also joined, formed, and led a number of community groups that enabled the neighborhood to grow into itself.
In December of 2000, Bloom's doctors removed three tumors that were later connected to Agent Orange. He passed away July 13, 2007.
This legacy is well known to locals. Yet, on Memorial Day, it is fitting to recall that it was a war veteran, who after seeing villages destroyed in Southeast Asia, helped build a village alongside the Los Angeles River. In turn, the Arts District and that creative ethos helped establish an identity for Downtown Los Angeles.
All day today, you will hear how vets fought for our freedoms. In the case of Joel Bloom, it can be said he also fought for building an environment that allows creative freedoms.
The work continues:
PARK IDEAS WANTED: The CRA and LADWP are seeking design ideas for the first Arts District Public Park, planned to be built on the La Kretz CleanTech Innovation Campus. The first set of progressive meetings will build on each other to incorporate "the ideas of our amazing community."
Community Meeting Schedule is as follows: Saturday, June 4, 10am at Factory Place Arts Complex (1330 Factory Place, Building A); Thursday, June 9, 6:30pm, at Barker Block (530 S. Hewitt St); Thursday, June 16, 6:30pm SCI-Arc (960 E. Third St) RSVP HERE
BLOOMFEST: The street festival named after Joel Bloom will have an added component this year. In addition to bands, Daniel Lahoda of Lahoda Fine Arts will lead guided street art tours. The street festival will be held Saturday, July 23, from 2pm to 10pm.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOOM: It's May 30, says Downtown Muse.