Art has always been a great polarizing agent in the world. For some folks, portraiture is a sure mark of talent. For others, it’s abstracts or sculptures that are the ultimate showcase.

I’m not really sure which school of thought I subscribe to. But I will say this: It sure is cool to check out the people and their work in one fell swoop.

The best place to do that is at the various Art Walks throughout Los Angeles. Each year, more and more neighborhoods let their culture flags unfurl and show native and transplanted Angelenos that major quality is just steps outside their door.

Since there are so many outstanding events to peruse, you’ll need a guide to navigate each of them. After all, they individually have so much to offer.

One of the liveliest collections of art in the city is at the Downtown Art Walk ( With its skyscrapers and overwhelming amounts of traffic, Downtown is a pain in the ass to some. To others, it’s the latest mecca of cool and culture [finally] putting Los Angeles in the same league as other big cities with a great local scene such as San Francisco, Austin and Manhattan.

The event is held on the second Thursday of each month (the next one is scheduled for Sept. 10); admission is free. More than 40 area galleries participate.

Patrons consisting of the tragically hip and families seeking new ways to broaden their offspring’s horizons can be found trolling these urban streets. Artists (including musicians and poets) even come out and lend support. But the best thing about it is the revolving door of talent you’ll discover. Remember, even Picasso was once an unknown.

San Pedro is a place that I know very little about. As a matter of fact, before last year, I’d only seen its name as I careened past those big green freeway signs on my way to a club.

But San Pedro’s Art Walk ( has been on an uphill climb in popularity since its inception back in the 1990s due to its awesome offerings: restaurants, shops and galleries.

All the galleries of San Pedro get much-needed attention the first Thursday of each month (next one is scheduled for Sept. 3) when this diverse, harbor-adjacent community says, “Come on down!” Over 150 artists and gallery owners participate. Even artists like Pat Fierro are an annual mainstay.

What I like about this one is that you can attend a chic opening or pop into a space to view imaginative and quirky pop art. But it doesn’t just end there. Good eats and great people are at every corner.

One of my all-time favorite sections of Los Angeles is hands-down Chinatown. My friend Ed used to bring me here for weekend shopping trips, and I just can’t let my love of the place go.

Forever the pioneers of … well … everything, the Chinese citizens of this great town have “come correct” with a righteous display of beauty and aptitude throughout its streets. Chinatown Art Night ( is truly a melding of modern chic and old-world charm.

This event, which starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until 9 p.m., is also free and held quarterly (that’s every four months; next one is scheduled for Sept. 12). If you’ve never been to this section of town, prepare to have your mind blown.

From the wonderful and authentic restaurants to the incredible shopping, you will experience sensory overload. I can’t think of a lovelier group of people to party with, either. Now take all that fun and add gorgeous work contributed by galleries like Meisler + Hug and North Hill Exhibitions, and thank the good lord that you live in a town as wonderful as this one.

When I was a kid living in Germany, my parents ran in a pretty cool circle of friends consisting of former members of the Berlin ballet and a ton of musicians. That experience always colored my notion of artists; that they were young people who lived in close-quarters with each other and spent their days and nights feeding off each other’s collective brilliance.

This brings us to the Brewery ArtWalk ( Here, you’ll find a nice batch of artists who live and work in a vibrant colony that is reportedly the largest in the world. Over a hundred artists participate in this bi-annual (next one is scheduled for Oct. 24-25) exploration of esthetic splendor.

Like many of the other events of its kind, this one is also east side of town-accessible. So if you’re located in Mt. Washington, Silver Lake, Glendale, Atwater Village, Los Feliz or Downtown, it’s so totally your birthday, man!

The Brewery Art Walk offers patrons both free parking and free admission. It’s also boasts what I like to call “family hours” (fun starts at 11 a.m. and lasts until 6 p.m.).

Culver City is renowned for its contribution to the local art landscape. As a matter of fact – and this is nothing against the other events in the area, but – the annual ARTWALK Culver City ( ) is the first one that springs to mind whenever the topic comes up.

For anybody who’s kicked it in downtown Culver, you know this to be one of the liveliest areas for culture – particularly on the Westside. This neighborhood was constructed in the shadow of the studio system, and those executives definitely like to play as hard as they work.

Culver also houses a lot of the trendiest art spaces in town such as the Corey Helford Gallery (8522 Washington Blvd.; one of my faves). Many of these locations haul out their best new finds and encourage the public to get a gander at them, one footstep at a time.

Past sponsors of this free event have been the groovy social networking site, Yelp and the monolithic, Sony Pictures. With bucks like that backing it, you know it’s GOT to be good.