Harris-Dawson and Community Residents to Build 1.1 Mile Outdoor Art Museum

By Sentinel News Services

After nearly two years of community engagement, the vision for the project, dubbed Destination Crenshaw, aspires to be a living celebration of Black Los Angeles’ social, cultural, and civic contributions to the city and the world. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Council District 8 residents, local Black artists, and cultural influencers have discussed and begun to plan a 1.1-mile, open-air art, museum that will run along Crenshaw Boulevard between 48th Street and 60th Street, where the new Crenshaw/LAX Line will run at-grade.

“For us, celebrating Black history isn’t about a month, but something we do every single day. Destination Crenshaw will be the first project of its kind, in the country, to honor the contributions of Black Americans through a living, breathing streetscape,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson, who represents LA City Council District Eight, says the community has a great opportunity to inform the exciting changes coming to Crenshaw Boulevard. “Community input has been instrumental every step of the way, and we are working hard to build something, for us, right in the heart of Black Los Angeles on Crenshaw Boulevard. Anyone from the community who is interested should come join us and find out how they can be part of capturing our legacy.”

The vision for Destination Crenshaw was born after years of resident-led resistance to keep the Crenshaw/LAX Line underground. When LA Metro decided to keep the line at street-level to save on construction costs, the community decided to get in the driver seat and capitalize on a street-level plan. Being highly engaged is helping to ensure this is more than just a metro stop, it is an investment in the community that also celebrates the historically Black neighborhood.

“This is truly a community-led effort to cement our cultural legacy and ensure the cultural richness of the neighborhood remains vibrant,” said Naima Keith, Deputy Director at the California African American History Museum. “Our children deserve to see themselves etched into the fabric of our city and our neighborhood in an important way. I look forward to more residents getting involved — this is a chance to build something for us.”

The architectural design is being led by Perkins+Will, an internationally - renowned architecture firm that specializes in African American cultural institutions nationwide. Zena Howard who is responsible for the newly built National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., will lead the design, curation, and construction of the museum. She’s one of some 400 licensed Black women architects, making up .2% of all architects in the country. Destination Crenshaw is slated to open in October 2019, coinciding with the opening of the Crenshaw/LAX Metro Line.

Councilmember Harris-Dawson and Perkins+Will are hosting a town hall for the community to discuss the project and solicit input at the Museum of African American Art in Macy’s at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on March 6th at 6 PM. To get involved, learn more, and provide input on Destination Crenshaw, visit destinationcrenshaw.la.