When it comes to the arts, there’s more to it than just hitting a like button or sharing an image. It’s more than just spiritual support. It’s about being a patron to the arts—and I pride not only myself but the DLBA on tangibly supporting our artists and its surrounding community.

This month alone will mark three major investments in making our Downtown more dynamic while support working artists that help make our world a little more colorful.

Let’s talk about our streets at first. Yes, our streets—specifically Pine Avenue.

Along our most famous road sits six mid-block crosswalks and we’ve commissioned Kipp Kobayashi to fill them with his designs. Not only is Pine going to be safer for it with a more visible crosswalk that will prompt drivers to slow down, they will be captivating.

Or as we say, “Instagrammable.”

Kipp is no stranger to the creative process. From serving inside Walt Disney Imagineering—the arm of Disney that creates the magical spaces within its theme parks—to founding Mythograph with architect Marta Perlas, a creative environmental design firm, Kobayashi’s work spans corporate to public, large to small.

If you thought the rainbow crosswalks across Broadway in Alamitos Beach were cool, you will be ecstatic about these incredible installations.

We will be going into our second year filling the DLBA’s office walls with art from Long Beach artists. Last year’s inaugural exhibition, where 11 artists were paid and invited to hang their work in our offices, brought forth sculptures, photos, paintings and installations into the space where DLBA staff work daily.

Once again, we are inviting artists to submit their portfolios, their work possibly hanging on our walls. (Applicants better give us their best brush since the judges analyzing their work include Brian Addison of the DLBA, John Hall of Pow! Wow!, Edward Hayes of the Museum of Latin American Art, Julia Huang of interTrend, Ron Nelson of the Long Beach Art Museum, and Brian Tremble of the University Art Museum—a crew that takes their art very seriously.)

And then there’s The Loop, set to be DTLB’s next icon.

We’re not kidding.

In a project headed by the DLBA’s Placemaking Manager Sean Warner and designed by Stereo.Bot, this curving, massive, colorful installation will finally—finally—activate the southeast corner of Ocean and Pine. And don’t think it’s just an art installation. Nope. It will serve as an event space. A music venue. A place to hang out. Think. Create. Innovate.

Of course, these projects aren’t the end-all-be-all. Like many things, they’ll be added to a long list of accomplishments that some may remember and some may forget (even though they shouldn’t). But what won’t be left aside is that being supportive of the arts isn’t enough anymore.

If you truly believe in art, you have to be a patron.

You have to be a doer.

You ask an artist like Drew Merritt to paint the side of your building (like I did after purchasing the Packard Building on Anaheim).

You have to provide tangible support, not just the shake of a hand or the pat of a back (like the DLBA did when they commissioned Pow! Wow! veteran and Long Beach artist Jeff McMillan to create an entry way for Beach Streets in DTLB).

Be a patron of the arts and watch your life and community flourish in more ways than one.

– Michelle Molina, Chair of the DLBA Board of Directors