The SFAC has been on our radar for some time

“We serve not just a cultural function, but the arts are huge in the economy,” said Sylvia Tidwell, head of the Santa Fe Art Colony Tenants Assn., who said her rent had been $1,426 but is rising to $4,493 effective Friday. “The fine artists working in the studio at the grassroots level, we generate ideas that inform all the other creative industries.”

Last year artist-residents boycotted a Fifteen Group-organized open studios event, which they saw as an attempt to use their community as a real estate selling point: Come see the kind of cool studios that eventually could be yours.

“That felt really awful,” said Gina Han, who was part of the colony for more than two decades. “Everyone’s coming to see your space, not coming to see your art. They would say, ‘I like this wall, I like this bathroom.’”

On July 2 the tenants association announced that the Los Angeles Conservancy had nominated the Santa Fe Art Colony for the city’s Historic-Cultural Monument designation, granting it interim protection

“The SFAC has been on our radar for some time,” said Adrian Fine, director of advocacy at the conservancy. “We’d certainly been aware of potential changes down the road. Every time there’s a change of ownership, there’s a risk.”

Located near the border of L.A. and Vernon, the complex with the tapestry of brick facades was originally the C.B. Van Vorst Furniture Manufacturing Co. designed by John Montgomery Cooper in 1916. Cooper has four other projects with historical designations in L.A., including the Roxie Theatre downtown. The nomination is based on its identification as the earliest important building by Cooper as well as its role as the city’s first publicly subsidized art community.

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