Neighborhood Heroes - Eric Nakamura - West LA / Sawtelle
2019 Neighborhood Hero: Eric Nakamura,
a native of the West LA neighborhood, a member of the West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council, and a local businessman, Eric uses every platform at his disposal to build and promote the neighborhood...
Eric is the co-founder of Giant Robot, owner of the Giant Robot Store and GR2 Gallery, and curator of the Giant Robot Biennales and other museum exhibitions. Giant Robot opened in 2001 on Sawtelle Boulevard as a retail extension of the groundbreaking Asian and Asian-American pop culture magazine of the same name, which ran in print until 2011 and recently resurfaced online at Giant Robot Media.
Eric is the Vice-Chair of West LA/Sawtelle Neighborhood Council and serves as the Outreach Chair, in which his primary role is to facilitate partnerships with organizations and to execute community events. He has helped the neighborhood council organize the West LA Renter’s Rights Fair and the Movies in the Park events that bring together neighbors for a series of movie screenings throughout the summer months. Eric is also passionate about helping the homeless and is excited that the West LA/Sawtelle NC now has a homeless committee to provide resources for people experiencing homelessness in the area. He is currently working on a project that will bring art exhibitions to the lobby of the West LA Municipal Building.
In addition to his community work, Eric hosts an interactive art exhibition in December called the Post-it Show at his gallery space, Giant Robot. The exhibition displays artwork from local artists and features a Post-it note installation that brings thousands of art enthusiasts from West LA and beyond to the corridor. With the help of the West LA Community Coalition, Eric couples the popular art exhibition with a toy drive, where people line up along Sawtelle Boulevard with their toy donations that are donated to the Salvation Army Westwood Transitional Village.
Eric’s work is inspired by his desire to keep alive the wonder and excitement and neighborhood quality that he experienced growing up in West Los Angeles. Amidst the development changes the neighborhood is experiencing, Eric still finds beauty in the people and the positive and friendly spirit of the West Los Angeles community.