Who wins and who loses when art galleries move into a residential, Latino neighbourhood?
Boyle Heights, east of downtown Los Angeles, is a predominantly Latino neighbourhood where some three in 10 people live below the poverty line. When a number of largely white-owned art galleries started opening here over the past few years, a familiar narrative began to emerge: new businesses and more affluent tenants moved in, followed by rent rises that forced out longtime residents. But while many young activists in Boyle Heights have loudly and aggressively protested the art galleries, Guadalupe Rosales – a successful artist and Boyle Heights native committed to preserving the history of her neighbourhood – doesn’t find the issues around gentrification to be quite so cut and dry. Treating a controversial subject with unusual nuance and care, Rosales’s short documentary The Town I Live In, co-directed by the US filmmaker Matt Wolf, examines the vexing topic of gentrification without resorting to any overly easy answers.