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Downtown’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of downtown’s gems below.

Kristin Delgadillo

I started my lifestyle blog and Instagram about five years ago when I moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I wanted to share what life was like living there. I moved back to California after two years and brands & photographers started to reach out and wanted to work with me and my influencing career skyrocketed since then. It hasn’t. Like any career, it has its highs and lows, especially with the ever-evolving social media trends and trying to keep up with them. Read more>>

Linda Smith

I was born in England and moved with my mother, brother and sister to Canada at age 11 to escape an abusive father. He eventually found us in Toronto and was on his way to kill us all when the police, who were warned of his intent, stopped him and jailed him for carrying a loaded gun. He was eventually deported back to England and we never saw him again. I am a former Canadian actress, model, dancer, and singer and landed a nationally televised variety show as lead dancer in the late 60’s and 70’s. Read more>>

El Ryce

Growing up in Baltimore, we had a certain style of dress that I didn’t always want to conform to. I’ve always been the one to stand out with what I wore or designed. I used to bleach and distress my jeans or customize my own shoes to have something no one else had. As I got older, I took my hobby more seriously. With me being a sneaker fanatic I always wanted something to match my shoes and couldn’t always find it in stores so I designed my own clothing. Read more>>

Miu Haiti

I was brought up by creative parents. My dad is a sax player and plays with lots of major Haitian “konpa” bands, and my mom is a seamstress. I used to create outfits for my dolls with leftover fabrics. My father used to host church choir rehearsals and songwriting sessions at home. He took me to some of his band’s rehearsals and recording sessions too. In school, I was very into literature, drama class, dance and drawing class. I think I always had the music in me, I was always humming some melody, got me in trouble at school sometimes. Read more>>

Meghan Frisch

With the pandemic, I had a lot of free time to spend alone, so I decided to learn something new! I took an online silversmithing course on how to make a simple sterling silver and stone ring & set up my at-home studio. Silversmithing quickly became a passion, turning into a side hustle by the end of 2020. A year after learning how to silversmith, I quit my 9-5 and began building Meghan Elisabeth Art (MEA) full-time! I make minimalist and artisanal sterling silver & turquoise jewelry. Read more>>

Hilla BunDem

Wah DuDem (W.D.D.) is a lateral or “soft approach” suicide prevention and mental health awareness organization. W.D.D.’s paid services range from promotion/consultation, video, and photography to event and artist/business management and a record label of the same name. These paid services fund W.D.D.’s purpose: stop suicide. Artist and high school student Hilla Bundem lost his friend to suicide in 2008. He began volunteering with community outreach organizations (such as Good Shepherd Services) Read more>>

Malik Williams

So growing up in baton rouge wasn’t easy at all. As the years went by, I always wondered what I’d do when I got older because I wanted to take care of my family. So once I graduated high school, I took on window tinting, then I became and artist. After that, I become a social media influencer, fashion model & role model for this young kid named Xavier. You can find all of our videos on my TikTok @kamo2ss. I still do ALL of these things today. Read more>>

Nadine Allan

I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, and as a child, my shyness was so extreme that my preschool teachers believed I was mute. However, I found solace in art and creativity, and I felt more comfortable expressing myself through drawing and creating objects. When I was 11 years old, my Grandpa, a botanist, gave me my first flower press, and it sparked my passion for creating pressed flower art. I started a small business selling my pictures, and I was eventually able to save up enough money to buy myself a moped. Read more>>

Macey Krause

I was born and raised on the east coast, but always knew I would end up in California one day. My husband, Kyle and I moved to Los Angeles in May of 2020. We moved across the country with seven suitcases and our pup polly in the middle of a pandemic. Looking back, that seems crazy, but in the moment we KNEW we were exactly where we needed to be doing what we were supposed to do. I have always been a dreamer, but the moment we landed in Los Angeles it just felt like every “LID” I ever felt was taken off and I was empowered to dream bigger dreams and go after them. Read more>>

Kristofor Giordano

I am originally from a small, former mining town in northern New Jersey. For as long as I can remember, I was naturally averse to rules and discipline so drawing, making things allowed me some level of freedom (how I understood it). My brothers and I went to a Catholic elementary school where I really struggled with codes of conduct that didn’t make any sense to me. The part of parochial education that entranced me were the graphic depictions of suffering within the church itself. Read more>>

Alessio Filippelli

Italian-born creative director and manager, Alessio Filippelli, has produced and consulted on a variety of entertainment projects, including Kat Graham’s Worldwide Long Hot Summer Tour 2022 with over 30 shows in 12 different countries, along with her music album, Toro Gato, which was released exclusively as an NFT – making history as the first of its kind. He is currently the youngest executive director at Kat Graham’s company “Kat Graham MEOW LLC” and its holdings, having grown Graham’s social media presence to over 13.4 million followers in under two years. Read more>>

Paul Vu

Hi! First of all, thanks for having me. It’s really nice to be in a space with so many inspiring people. I founded a media agency during the pandemic that serves designers and the luxury fashion world. I trained as an architect and was really passionate about it but found that I was of better service documenting people’s stories and connecting them with the right audiences. With a lot of hard work, amazing mentors, and collaborators, my reputation grew to where I was more requests than I could handle by myself. Read more>>

Joebin Cummings

Church of Bass is owned and ran by DJ Black Noise, Joebin Cummings. We started in 2019 in the Las Vegas desert, we saw there was a gap in events on Saturday night and decided to fill that gap. After investing all of my money into Church covid hit, effectively shutting down all nightlife entertainment. Not knowing what to do next and not willing to lose my life savings, we had to push forward as safe as we can. We hired extra security and limited our event capacity to ensure everyone’s safety, no mask no entry no refund was our policy. Read more>>


I remember coming home after pre-school and drawing in my sketchbook every single day. This is where my journey started, and it’s important to acknowledge my parents’ encouragement in these origin story doodles. I ended up in an arts high school, and an art college as I could not stop visually creating and exploring. My identity was locked with being an artist. I became an oil painter, showing and selling in galleries, as well as an art educator, working mostly with elementary and middle school kids. Read more>>

Justin Serulneck

I moved to Los Angeles from New York in the 2000s to be a filmmaker. While in Los Angeles, I was exposed to interesting work that was happening in art, film, and video. I made experimental films and took images for many years until I decided that exhibiting in a contemporary art context better fit the kind of work I was interested in making. I attended CalArts and studied both art and film, and received an MFA from both the photography and film programs. Read more>>

Emily Klingbeil

At 31, I was riding high. I had recently graduated from Harvard Business School, was an up and coming star analyst at my Firm, and had married the love of my life. We were elated to find out we were pregnant. That was easy! At 5 weeks that elation gradually turned into three years of a slow physical and emotional decline that left me in the throes of resistant postpartum depression. Relentless hyperemesis made it difficult to get to work on time and to stay hydrated at all. Read more>>

Brandon L

For all of my life, the visual arts, graphic design, communication through drawing, and street art have been elements that have kept me going. They’ve brought me to places that I could have never dreamed of. My story starts in Southern California. Both of my parents were born in Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. during the 1960s. To them, the arts were not a practical means of success. Leaving a country with limited opportunities due to war, they viewed white-collar opportunities in the U.S. as worthier pursuits than a life of creative angst and financial hardships. Read more>>

Cathy Lu

I was born in Miami, FL in the 80s to Taiwanese-Chinese immigrants within a community of Cuban exiles. Being brought up in this community where Chinese was spoken at home, Spanish was the predominant language, and English was second, I felt like the visual arts became a language that I could communicate more easily in. I believe this intercultural experience is what led me to some of my main interests in my artwork: What does it mean to be Asian American or Chinese American? Read more>>

Dante Bailey

Well as of today, I am a freelance film Director, Writer, & Photographer. In terms of the path I’ve taken towards this journey as a creative, I would say it has been both traditional & non-traditional. I did attend college & recently got my Masters in Film & TV Production from USC, which I’m proud to say is the top film school in the industry. With that said, it was a long journey getting there. I originally started learning the craft of filmmaking back in DC with a company called Cool Kids Forever Films. Read more>> 

Emmi Salonen

I am a dancer, singer and actress currently on tour as a featured dancer with DoPortugal International Circus. My recent credits include Aino in Parliament on AlfaTV, waitress in Planet Eldorado TV series and Miss Broadway in I Can See Your Voice TV show, both by Warner Bros. International Television Production. Other recent roles include a featured role in the upcoming TV series Kakarat season 3, ensemble in Döbeln Opera at Alexander Theatre and Eleana/Ensemble role in The Miracle of Christmas Musical at New York’s Queens Theatre. Read more>>

Paula Valenzuela

I have made art since I can remember. As a child I was always making mandalas, drawing and trying new combinations of colors. Growing up I had classes with very good Chilean artists, but always kept my art-making as a private passion that I shared with a small community. I studied Clinical Psychology in Chile and Public Health at UC Berkeley and after working for many years as a psychotherapist with women and families in Chile, I moved with my husband and three kids to the Bay Area in 2013. Read more>>

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