In memory of the five fascinating months when Richard was the Executive Director and Kim was the Curator of the newly formed Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk non-profit, we are honored to share these words of thanks from volunteers and participants.
Despite the smears you may have read elsewhere suggesting that we were disconnected from the management, safety or community aspects of the event, the fact is that we lived, breathed and brainstormed to solve these issues, and formed dozens of valued partnerships to make Art Walk safer, more successful and more meaningful to every participant.
This was what was really going on at our manifestation of the Art Walk: incredible people were coming together and working very hard to make something wonderful happen in the city, and to fix the aspects of the Art Walk that were broken or neglected. It's sad that some in the community didn't want to be part of it, sadder still that they didn't want anyone else to be able to enjoy it either.
But here's the thing about magic: you can't stop it once it's out of the magician's hat. All this good work was not for naught, and the relationships formed at Art Walk are going to survive and transform us into the new decade. We thank all our wonderful collaborators, and can't wait to see where the magic takes us next. Stay tuned to the Esotouric.com weekly email list if you'd like to join us.
MAJA D'AOUST (Philosophical Research Society): I had a tremendous experience working with Kim and Richard on Art Walk. I found them to be very accommodating, present and interested in ensuring everything went smoothly and safely, and extremely involved in all the proceedings. There were many personal issues and questions I had to ask them during the process, which they dealt with immediately and effectively every time. I found them to be courteous and concerned with everyone involved and constantly asked people if they needed help, volunteering their aid. I had a wonderful experience providing Salons for the Art Walk events and it was a direct result of Kim and Richard's participation in them.
STEPHEN COOPER (Professor of Creative Writing, CSU Long Beach): Working with Kim Cooper and Richard Schave on the November 2009 Los Angeles Art Walk John Fante Salon was a delight. From the time they originally proposed the idea, through several helpful phone and email planning discussions, and culminating at the SRO event itself on the third floor of historic Clifton's Cafeteria, the experience was smooth and rewarding. All I had to do was show up and talk with an engaged and appreciative audience. Kim and Richard did everything else, with efficiency, smarts and class.
MIKE THE POET (tour guide, author): Over the last four years I have had a ball leading tours through the monthly Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk. I have led tours though the Art Walk just about every month since March 2006, with the exception of the month I went on my honeymoon and two other months when I had important poetry gigs at universities. The tours have evolved from beginning on DASH buses to 55-passenger buses and most recently walking tours. Over the last year and a half I have had the pleasure to work with Richard Schave and Kim Cooper of Esotouric Tours. They are two of the only people I have ever encountered that love Los Angeles as much as I do. Collaborating with them on the Art Walk Tour has been an unforgettable experience. Their devotion to sharing the real Los Angeles is unmatched. Anyone that takes a tour with Esotouric (Richard and Kim) will receive a historically accurate tour as well as a damn good time. They are professional and still manage to be whimsical. A tour with Esotouric supersedes the typical boring tour and sheds new and fascinating light on the City of Angels.
THESSALY LERNER – THE UKULADY (musician/ Hippodrome host): I worked for over 9 months on the Downtown Art Walk’s free shuttles and it was always a privilege and a pleasure to work with Kim and Richard. They worked their fingers to the bone for Art Walk, always unpaid and underappreciated. To blame them for any shortcomings of Art Walk is outrageous, shameful and misdirected. I was privileged to work with them for over a year and I admire the countless hours of energy and time they poured into the broken machine of Art Walk. I am particularly appalled that they have been misrepresented to have been contemptuous of seeking corporate funding to support programming. No one is more an advocate for artists to get paid than Kim and Richard and they were constantly brainstorming how to harness corporate funding. Art Walk is a huge event, and blaming Kim and Richard for public safety issues at largest public event within Skid Row is ridiculous. It’s like declaring Obama responsible for George Bush’s Iraq. Iraq was a mess long before Obama came around, as was Art Walk before Kim and Richard. Kim and Richard had many great ideas to make Art Walk more accessible and give it higher visibility amongst Angelinos, and it's Art Walk's and L.A.'s loss that the dysfunction of the Art Walk and Downtown community and Art Walk board seem to have caused their resignation. I hope that Art Walk’s board grovels at Kim and Richard’s feet, begging them to return, because their collective energy, creativity and dedication to art and artists, is unrivaled.
JAVIER CABRAL (tour guide/food blogger): Working in conjunction with Kim Cooper and Richard Schave made my walking tour "The Rise of LA Food Trucks" become an overnight success.
LUCAS GONZE (guitarist, Hippodrome performer): I had a great experience playing music on the Hippodrome during Art Walk. There was a remarkable sense of community; people met and mingled in a way you'd never expect. I especially liked the safety that the bus created for people who would otherwise have walked from one corner of the Art Walk to the other.
MICHELLE MILLS (journalist, San Gabriel Valley Tribune): When I first learned that Richard Schave and Kim Cooper were taking on the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk I was intrigued, as it was a big task to wrangle. Since then, I have watched it grow and become a unique event revitalizing a too-often overlooked area of L.A. Schave and Cooper offered walking tours, a bus and other ways of making the event more interesting and informative for both those new and familiar with the area. It is Art Walk's loss that the couple have resigned. I wish both parties the best.
RUTHANN FRIEDMAN (singer-songwriter, Hippodrome performer): The Art Walk is linked forever in my mind to Kim Cooper and Richard Schave. It was their energy and enthusiasm that swept many of us along. They will be missed.
SARAH TROOP (attendee): Schave and Cooper are Los Angeles treasures. The concepts and experiences they brought and implemented to the Art Walk were unique and unforgettable to anyone who has attended. Their mutual love and passion for Los Angeles, it's history, it's culture and certainly the people make me LOVE this city.
JOHN TOOMEY (attendee): I have known Kim Cooper and Richard Schave for years and have been continually amazed at their organizational and managerial skills. They excel at the talents traditionally associated with non-profit arts organizations, and ALSO (which is rare) know how to manage a business. Their love for, and desire to share their delight in our city is unparalelled. Art Walk will be very, very lucky if it can find someone else of their caliber.
ED ROSENTHAL (tour guide/poet-broker): Esotouric's involvement in the Art Walk was refreshing and inventive. I loved doing tours from Clifton's. I haven't caught up on the politics, but to me the Art Walk is about downtown and its history, not about the galleries or the property owners… I enjoyed their involvement very much and my tours which they created were a great success.