Los Angeles Poverty Department

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Poverty Department’s Public Safety FOR REAL articulates an alternate conception of public safety that critiques the “injustice system” while changing the narrative about the homeless community in Skid Row. Playing on the term and function of a Business Improvement District (BID), the other LAPD will devise informal community policing vehicles that maintain respect for the wellbeing of their Skid Row neighbors.


Bio: Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) creates performances and multidisciplinary artworks that connect the experience of people living in poverty to the social forces that shape their lives, while challenging the narrative about people living in poverty. Widely acknowledged as "some of the most uncompromising political theatre” (ARTFORUM), throughout its 30-year history, LAPD has confused the categories and confounded expectations. LAPD has sought to obliterate the boundaries of “community based” and “real art,” and its projects have traveled throughout the U.S., South America and Europe. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, LAPD Inspects America took the lived expertise of Skid Row to twenty cities, to investigate emerging conditions of homelessness, bringing together arts organizations, social services, activists and homeless people to speak out in concert toward change. Recent projects on the depredations of the war on drugs and mass incarceration emerged from L.A.’s Skid Row to address these issues nationally and internationally. In April 2015, LAPD opened the Skid Row History Museum and Archive, which curates exhibitions and hosts numerous public events.

Photo: LAPD