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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit Art Share LA has activated its “Let’s Paint the Town Initiative” with an open application process at artsharela.org. 

This initiative keeps Los Angeles’ artists working, primarily painting on Broadway, and shows how Art Share LA and its artists are essential to the health and safety of the Downtown community. 

Shortly after the coronavirus began, Art Share LA’s executive director, Cheyanne Sauter, thought, “If this is our ‘new normal,’ then we need to figure out how to create art and pay artists. Artists can’t keep producing and sharing for free.” 

Art Share LA is committed to paying artists like Ian Robertson-Salt for their work. He painted a mural he titled “Stay Safe.”

“It’s a reflection of what people were being advised to do, which is wear a mask and be conscious of your surroundings and everything that’s going on,” Robertson-Salt said.

“But I felt like it could also be perceived as a way to pay tribute to the first responders and the people who are having to work through this pandemic and put themselves at risk.”

Art Share LA paid Robertson-Salt $100 for his mural. 

“They’re great,” Robertson-Salt said. “They’ll have online calls for themed projects, and they’re giving winners $15 every week.” 

Robertson-Salt has been painting murals for 10 years and plans to continue his Art Share LA connection.

“Painting is what I love the most,” said Robertson-Salt. 

Art Share LA provides equitable access to artists, giving them a creative environment to live, work, develop, perform and exhibit. Their free to low-cost programs remove barriers to accessing art, giving artists hope to continue pursuing their careers. Their programs attract a local and diverse community of emerging artists, including more than 500 visual and 300 performing artists each year.