Photo via Facebook
A little more than a week after LA DIY institution The Smell received a demolition notice, Echo Park DIY gallery and venue Pehrspace has been evicted from the strip mall location it has occupied for ten years.
The all-ages space posted a photo to Facebook of a 60-day tenancy termination notice left on its door Monday. "We're moving forward, trying to get over this time where we're forced to change, but we'll do our best with what we know and the kindness the community has shown," the venue posted in an update to the page today, which has been inundated with messages of support and dismay from its fans. "Please keep an eye out for possible new homes for our space and events/links for fundraising that will make it possible for us to move. Thank you for being a part of our experiment for these past 10 years!"
Opened by indie label Pehr in 2006, the nonprofit Pehrspace has served as an incubator for young visual artists and musicians, with an emphasis on experimental music. The intimate venue has remained one of the city's few ground level platforms for young artists to try out new material and workshop ideas in front of welcoming audiences, providing a space for experiencing the growing pains of artistic development against the often self-segregating, competitive creative climate of LA.
"Pehrspace was the meeting place—the church—for every genius artist who couldn’t get love anywhere else," booker Sean Carnage told LA Weekly. "I’m queer and it was a priority for me to make sure that every person of every orientation [or] heritage was included and encouraged. It’s really hard to get a gig in this town. Everyone needs a place where they can let their hair down and do their thing.”
The news comes amidst heavy gentrifcation and development encroaching on neglected and economically depressed enclaves across the city, and particularly in areas like Downtown and LA's northeast side, where Echo Park is located. The Smell's impending demolition has been reported as a means to make way for a parking lot or structure as its Skid Row-adjacent locale continues to thrive, though its landowners told Noisey they have no plans to demolish building.
On its Facebook page, Perhspace noted that the building that houses it and a number of other longterm tenants was sold to a new owner in May, following litigation in the wake of the death of its previous owner a few weeks ago, with most of the leases in the complex running month to month.
"Some of our neighbors have been in the complex for 20-30 years so everyone is feeling angry," the post noted. "There are also two churches and one neighbor has also been displaced from his home in Echo Park."
Pehrspace is currently being managed by Pauline Lay, a former intern who took over running Pehrspace after owner Adam Hervey, who still technically heads up the space, suffered a stroke in 2013. Lay told LA Weekly she first suspected the impending eviction when she received a notice late last month instructing her to write checks to a new landlord, and said a slew of surrounding businesses have decamped from the block in recent months, including the popular Haitian eatery TiGeorges’ Chicken. Lay said she hopes to find a new home for Pehrspace and is working with Smell owner Jim Smith to find new locations for their venues.
Andrea Domanick is the West Coast Editor of Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.