From the faceted steel sign designed by sculptor Heath Satow to the electric dog portraits by Japanese-born street artist Septerhed along its northwest wall, the Arts District dog park is a worthy reflection of its neighborhood.
Set on a 6,000-square foot wedge at the intersection of Fourth and Molina streets, the park is just east of the Los Angeles River and a skein of train tracks in an industrial neighborhood. While much of downtown’s mean streets are not supportive of either dogs nor their owners, this dog park is attractive.
A community partnership
Unlike its suburban siblings that are supported by Los Angeles County or local cities, the Arts District Dog Park is a private and community partnership. The challenges of meeting the park’s $4,000 annual tab for maintenance, property taxes, water and electricity have led to several innovative fundraising projects.
In 2010, the Los Angeles River Artists and Business Association (LARABA) acquired the land through a donation from a local family. Initially, the Arts District Business Improvement District (ADBID) charged business owners a fee to pay for beautification and better security in the area. A lawsuit forced a halt to that, and LARABA took over the park maintenance.
Unique dog owner support
At one point, an attempt was made to turn it into a members-only dog park with a $10 monthly fee. When only seven people signed on, the park nearly went under in April 2014. Resident and business owners came forward to pledge $13,500 to keep it open.
The park features a donor’s wall with plaques. Commemorative key chain fobs featuring miniature versions of the park’s stainless steel dog bone are available for $20 each. All proceeds go to keep the park going.
Once your dog has finished gamboling under the coral trees, you can walk around the block to the Urth Caffé, 451 S. Hewitt St., for refreshment.