Demise of Bloom's General Store Paints Bleak Picture

LOS ANGELES -- Jonathon Carter Schall is almost finished packing up the last remains of items that were once available for sale at Joel Bloom’s General Store on Hewitt Street.

Last Saturday, the once hub of the Art Districts shut its doors after 15 years of operation.

The first mark of civilization in the warehouse area that later became the Arts District, Bloom’s General Store was opened in 1994 by Joel Bloom, a pioneer of the district. Bloom operated it until his passing in 2007

In its heyday, the store was a vital part of the community. A place where locals picked up necessities and conversation.

Keeping up with the vision for the community and legacy of Joel Bloom, Jonathon had the passion and the drive to step up and manage Bloom’s General Store.

Despite his efforts, the store and Art District culture experienced a jagged downward trajectory as commercialization and development began to increase.

"The Arts District and culture in the past seemed more visionary... Where as now it's more reactionary," he reflects.

It had been a turbulent year before the closing. Arts District activists and the community attempted a fundraiser and curating shows in the small space.

Jonathon was faced with a 50-percent rent increase, changing demographics and a plummeting economy. He soon realized the future was bleak.

And now Jonathon faces the unknown. The weight of losing the store has not fully set in. The former manager, still devastated, is facing his first week of unemployment.

The demise of Bloom’s General Store strikes at a larger issue.

According to The Los Angeles Times, artists are getting hit harder than other professionals by the country’s dire economic situation.

New research by the National Endowment for the Arts, announced Thursday, shows that working artists are unemployed at a higher rate than other workers, and at a rate that is rising more rapidly than other professions.

For more of the study click here.

Click here to read more from the National Endowment For the Arts.


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