How the North Atlantic Corridor Will Become an Arts District, One PopUPTown at a Time • Long Beach Post

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Image courtesy of PopUPTown Social

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PopUPTown Social, the first monthly event to take place on Thursday, May 25 from 5:30PM to 8:30PM in the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library Garden, will mark the beginning of a new Long Beach program using placemaking to activate spaces along the North Atlantic Avenue business corridor.

“We know that a bunch of exciting stuff is coming to Atlantic, we know that we’ve got two developments breaking ground this year, the LAB is going to break ground sometime next year,” Vice Mayor Rex Richardson told the Post. “Huge, cool projects, probably 15 acres of new development on the corridor. But why can’t we start utilizing the corridor today? Because right now it’s kind of funky, we’ve got vacant lots, it’s not walkable, so we’re doing something called PopUPTown.”


Based on the success of past events such as the Uptown Jazz Festival, #ActivateUptown and Village Fest, the monthly “micro-socials” will be pop-up gatherings designed to celebrate local artists, musicians, performers, local residents, local food and local Uptown pride, according to the event description.

The first PopUPtown, family-friendly event is in partnership with the Uptown Business Improvement District and Roxanne’s Events, and will feature vendors such as Robert Earls BBQ Truck, vegetarian options and a beer and wine garden from Roxanne’s and a fresh produce stand. Attendees can expect a jam session with saxophone player Brandon Baker, guitarist John Conti, Brian Gazo with a drum solo and Di Easley on the keyboard, with more to be announced.

In six months, an additional night will be added to the PopUPTown events, with a secret location to be disclosed in November. And after another six months have passed, another PopUPTown event will be announced. Organizers have already identified three locations for the next 18 months, Richardson said.


And as the new developments are completed, the corridor and its community will have six new programmable plazas to activate, according to Richardson.

“[…]If you keep looking at these six months, you’re going to keep building a local food, local music, local arts scene on the Atlantic corridor that will culminate in a local arts district,” Richardson said. “It kicks off with PopUPTown; when we start having three or four of them a month, you’ll see some other larger things start to happen.”

For more information about PopUPTown Social, visit the Facebook event page here

The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library is located at 5870 Atlantic Avenue.

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Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her on Twitter and Instagram @theasiamorris and via email at [email protected]

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