Charles Burchfield
Colony in Pacific Palisades nurtured top artists in 1950s, 1960s

When times are good, artists and writers get the support they need, enriching city life in unquantifiable ways. But when the economy heads south or the rich lose interest, artists are among the first to suffer. Today we're hearing predictions of fewer movies, fewer books and fewer plays. In the case of L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art, there will be fewer exhibitions to support new work just when we need creative thinking. Of course, artists have had it rough for centuries, their livelihoods vulnerable to the whims of the powerful. Writers, painters, musicians -- they began as courtiers to Renaissance princes but ended as outcasts in 19th century industrial cities. Think of...