produced by MARK MCNEILL
Westlake-MacArthur Park was once the epicenter of the Los Angeles art scene. In the early 20th century the neighborhood was home to Otis Art Institute, Art Center College of Design and Chouinard Art Institute (later to become CalArts). The surrounding blocks were filled with independent galleries, studios and art supply stores. Ensuing decades of economic decline and gang violence caused this creative community to largely dissipate.
Two of the remaining art businesses sit side by side. Founded in 1923 McManus & Morgan is the oldest paper store in Los Angeles. Next door, Aardvark Letterpress has been printing since 1968. The shops share not only wall space but a customer base and common dedication to craft. Ampersand’s Mark McNeill visited these resilient businesses to discover how their relationship has proven fruitful.
Aardvark Letterpress Soundcloud image above and printing press photo below by ARIBA ALVI