The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art was established in April of 2004 as a venue to support the efforts of the burgeoning scene revolving around art and technology. Also known as "LACDA," its founder and director of the gallery, Rex Bruce, had his first experience with art and computers in 1980 creating control voltages for analog synthesizers using an IMSAI 8080 computer and the C+ language. His subsequent extensive career and education in the field of electronic interdisciplinary art led to the creation of LACDA spawning many novel approaches to funding and programming for computer oriented fine arts.
The first location for LACDA was on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood utilizing two spaces at RBC Studios, a building variously occupied by musicians, artists, writers and other creatives. After a short six months of early success there garnering notices in publications such as the L.A. Weekly and L.A. Times, director Rex Bruce became involved in the development of the nascent scene in the area now dubbed "Gallery Row" in the Historic Core of downtown Los Angeles. A new space was secured on 5th Street at South Main where five galleries were established simultaneously in an organized effort involving the gallery owners, the support of the L.A. Board of Supervisors, DLANC (Downtown Los Angleles Neighborhood Council), and developer Rob Frontiera who was then owner of the two Rosslyn Hotel buildings where the cluster of galleries resided.
Bert Green, owner of Bert Green Fine Art, established the monthly "Downtown Art Walk" in 2005 which began with a draw of 75 people and grew to about 15,000 visitors and over 40 galleries by 2010. The Downtown Art Walk, along with collaborations with the Downtown Film Festival, California Museum of Photography, Guggenheim Gallery, PhotoLA, College Art Association, New Media Caucus, SIGGRAPH, The Grammy Museum, ArtSpot Miami and other similar organizations and festivals established LACDA as a viable presenter of new media art to a broad based public as well as engaging the core art scene of critics and curators in Los Angeles and beyond.
While known for some success as a commercial gallery (selling new media work largely being regarded as more of an experiment than an established market), the LACDA maintains sustainability through its series of calls for entries, including juried competitions and open exhibits such as "Snap to Grid" where every artist submitting is exhibited without any curation. The center is also involved in printmaking, utilizing wide format inkjet printers, and has had success raising funds sustaining LACDA exhibition programming through its printmaking efforts. The printmaking allowed for a series of large group salon style exhibits giving exhibition opportunity to more artists while creating economic viability for the gallery especially through the downturn caused by the great recession beginning in 2007.
In February of 2011 the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art took over the lease at 102 W. 5th St. at the former location of Bert Green Fine Art (which is now located in Chicago). With 3,800 square feet and extensive window display areas the exhibit area effectively tripled, creating growth in the number and variety of exhibits and creative communities LACDA could accommodate. This location was scheduled for major seismic and infrastructure upgrades late in 2013. After a short break in programming, LACDA moved to its current location funded by a federal relocation grant and procuring a ten year lease at 104 East Fourth Street, a Gilmore Associates property. Tom Gilmore is known for his long standing support for the arts and the new location was leased at favorable terms. The new location adds 70 additional linear feet of interior wall space and includes four window bays that accomodate 50 inch monitors for rotation of video exhibits that can be viewed from interior seating or from the exterior through copious display windows.
Los Angeles Center for Digital Art Mission Statement:
Digital art defines the contemporary. The Los Angeles Center For Digital Art is dedicated to the propagation of all forms of digital art, new media, digital video art, net art, digital sculpture, interactive multimedia, and the vast panorama of hybrid forms of art and technology that constitute our moment in culture. We are committed to supporting local, international, emerging and established artists through exposure in our gallery. We have an ongoing schedule of exhibits and competitions, produce editions of wide format archival prints, and collaborate in the production of digital artworks in our studio. As well we are involved with curating digital exhibits at institutions and festivals outside of the LACDA gallery schedule.