LAPD Investigates ‘White Art’ Vandalism in Boyle Heights as Possible Hate Crime Amid Gentrification Fight 

The Los Angeles Police Department is treating three acts of vandalism in the last month targeting art galleries in Boyle Heights, including graffiti at one gallery that attacked "white art,” as possible hate crimes.

Police investigate vandalism at the Nicodim gallery in Boyle Heights in October. (Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Tim)

Police investigate vandalism at the Nicodim gallery in Boyle Heights in October. (Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Tim)

The probe comes amid a debate in the predominately Latino Eastside neighborhood over the growing art scene there and whether it’s part of a gentrification that some activists fear will push working class families out. Galleries have been popping up in the area over the last few years as some artists get priced out of downtown's Arts District and other areas.

“We don’t know who actually did [the vandalism], but because it actually made a reference to anti-white art or anti-white, it’s basically saying that it’s a hate crime based on that,” said Det. John Parra of the LAPD’s Hollenbeck station about the vulgar curse against “white art” spray-painted on the Nicodim Gallery in one of the incidents.

Boyle Heights has become a flash point as Los Angeles undergoes a wave of gentrification fueled by rising home prices and a renewed interest by many in urban neighborhoods. It's already transformed once-working class communities like Echo Park and Highland Park. But some in Boyle Heights — for decades the heart of L.A.'s Mexican American community — have vowed to fight the change.

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