The ballad of North Park goes something like this: Back in the early ’00s, the artists move in. Neighborhood becomes hip. Yuppies move in. Rents go up. Artists are forced out only to be replaced with corporate bro bars and overpriced, kale-pushing eateries.
Yeah, I’m a little bitter, but I’ll be the first to admit North Park’s gentrification isn’t all bad. I mean, I like kale. But it would be nice to see more galleries open and thrive in the neighborhood that ostensibly started the art walk. That’s what makes the quaint ACD Gallery (2923 Upas St.) such a nice addition to the hood. You’ve probably driven past it dozens of times on the way to Bluefoot, Alexander’s or the Jack in the Box drive-thru, but the selection of unique boutique items and art shows from local up-and-coming talent make it worth popping in.
Stepping into the place, it’s hard to get over how small the space is, but North Park real estate ain’t cheap these days. Still, the owner has packed in a nice amount of cool swag, including clothes, sneakers, toys and bags. My favorites include the limited-edition, pop-art pins from Avi Gold (I wear the R. Kelly one with pride) and the sturdy, but stylish backpacks and cases from Lexdray. The clothes are for men and skew toward the hipster skater set, but I’ve found tees and tanks in there that I’d sport. What’s best, ACD doesn’t forget that it’s a gallery. The semi-monthly art openings have people pouring out into the streets to check out artists like Brittany Segal and Taylor Marie Prendergast. They’ve also managed to curate their own “ACD Radio” mixes that feature decidedly non-mainstream electro and hip-hop.
So, yeah, ACD isn’t exactly near the 30th & University heart of things, but it’s a welcome addition to what will again, one day, be an arts scene that isn’t afraid to be different.