Monday, June 10, 2013

Going into the Tunnel

If you had caught me in the middle of last week, you might have seen a beat-up, deflated woman of indeterminate state of mind, (wandering around with dirty hair and hands) wondering what in the hell she was doing painting huge rats and half clothed women for an art show, taking place in a tunnel, no less: why why why? I asked, as I slogged through masses of butcher paper and mistakes. What good could possibly come from this? Shouldn't I—the thought seriously crossed my mind, as the exhaustion wore on— be doing something useful with my time?


Not that I'm unfamiliar with this state of mind, but it almost stopped me, and boy am I glad it didn't. Not only because I wanted to work with artist Margaret Gallagher, who curated the Tunnel Art Show, but being part of a local art exhibit in North East Los Angeles turned out to be a gas! Seeing the people who filed through the tunnel on Saturday night was worth it alone. There was the art crowd, the college crowd (Margaret just graduated from Oxy, with a degree in art), the friend crowd, but there was also the Cypress Park neighborhood crowd, who probably never thought of going into a tunnel on a Saturday night, but seemed generally excited about what they were seeing. A lot of discussion was taking place under Figueroa St., when you get right down to it (down to it, get it, underground, hah!).

Thank you Cypress Park neighbors for participating in this event! Thanks to Yancey at Antigua Coffee House for his original idea to open the tunnel that runs from Loreto St. to Nightingale Middle School for local artists each month. (Here's an article about it.) And...Thank you Margaret!

Margaret Gallagher
curator of the Cypress Park Tunnel Art Show
 standing in front of her paintings

And, especially thank you to Molly Ruttan, my trustworthy, risk-taking, wheatpasting friend, who has helped me on almost every one of my street art ventures without uttering one complaint (and she's not even getting paid!). Thanks Molly, I couldn't have done it without you. 

Wheatpasters to the end!

(photos by Tom Harjo)

 Molly and Charlotte pasting...
Margaret at top of stairs


If you missed the tunnel art show, look for it as part of the NELA Art Walk, every second Saturday. For those of you who'd like to see the wheatpastes, the tunnel's closed, but you can view them from street level, on both sides of Fig. They'll be around for another month.

(And I almost forgot, thank you to Jocelyn Grau for her generous contribution!)


  1. Wow wow wow. This is the greatest. I so wish I could see the rats & ladies in their underground home, but Tom's photos are the next best thing. What a crazy, wonderful tunnel show! Brava.

  2. Thank you outwalkingthedog! Tom was with us all morning as we worked, a real mensch! Also was happy to hear I didn't have to pull them down the next day (as i thought): that would have been almost too Buddhist!

  3. i am so sorry i live here and you live there. i sooo would have loved to walk down that staircase into that fabulous red underworld, those enormous, enormously wonderful blue rats...
    this is just terrific, charlotte.

    1. Thanks Susan....glad you could visit anyway!