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356 S. Mission Rd. in Los Angeles to Close

356 S. Mission Rd., the artist-run space founded by Laura Owens and Wendy Yao in January 2013, has announced that it will close its doors in May. Owens and Yao told the Los Angeles Times that their lease for the building expires in June and that because of “personal and practical” reasons it was the right time to move on. 

While the venue has been targeted by anti-gentrification activists over the course of its five-year run—which led Owens to pen a statement detailing her intentions for the space, its relationship to the community, its extensive programming, and incidents involving several protesters—she claimed that tensions between 356 Mission Rd. and demonstrators did not influence the decision to shutter. “If it was for that, we could have closed a long time ago,” Owens said. “Wendy and I have talked about this so many times. If you're in the neighborhood, you make an effort to engage.”

Owens and Yao’s announcement of the closure is published in full below:

“356 Mission will end its 5-year run in May 2018. After more than five years of public programming, 356 Mission’s final exhibitions are Charlemagne Palestine’s CCORNUUOORPHANOSSCCOPIAEE AANORPHANSSHHORNOFFPLENTYYY, Alake Shilling’s Monsoon Lagoon and an installation by Victor Rosas. Ooga Booga’s location at this address will close, but its original store in Chinatown will remain open.”

“356 Mission was an experiment in showing art and sharing space. We collaborated with over a thousand individuals and groups, hosted events and programs that were free and open to all, and worked to produce an alternative to the conventional gallery system in order to support and realize the visions of a wide range of artists. It was a labor of love, with finite resources, and never intended to last forever. We still believe that art can make a difference, that art spaces are vital to the cultural empowerment of all people, and that artists can be allies of vulnerable communities. Some took issue with our impact on the neighborhood—although we don’t agree with their perspective, we respected it, and attempted to bridge that divide while working toward proactive solutions to the best of our abilities. For both personal and practical reasons, we have decided that 356 Mission is no longer sustainable, but we will continue to support open access to arts programming and the health of existing local economies. We are deeply grateful to everyone who has supported us along the way, and look forward to continuing to engage the incredible communities of people who came through these doors.”