Public art is at the heart of the Destination Crenshaw project. It is our goal to bring world-class art to the public spaces of a 1.3-mile stretch of South Los Angeles, beautifying our neighborhoods and providing paid commissions to both established and emerging Black artists.
To select art for the project, Destination Crenshaw relies upon the expertise of a Curatorial Committee composed of eight Los Angeles-based artists, gallerists and curators.
The overwhelming majority of the artworks funded by Destination Crenshaw are originals created for the neighborhood and were procured through a commissioning process overseen by the committee.
The duties of the committee include but are not limited to:
Soon after its formation in 2018, the curatorial committee, in partnership with Perkins & Will, established a set of artist eligibility criteria to support the overarching goals of the project and ensure that local Black Los Angeles artists would be prioritized for permanent public art commissions. These include:
In keeping with the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs’ policy for art to be installed in the public right of way, Destination Crenshaw submits a package of visual renderings and written description of proposed artworks to the department. We then make a public presentation to the Cultural Affairs Committee to answer any questions.
Prior to the submission to the Cultural Affairs presentation, however, DC invites community members residing near the art installations’ proposed locations to preview the artwork, ask questions and provide input. Their feedback is recorded and passed along to the appropriate artist for their consideration and to the Cultural Affairs Commission. The presentations to the Cultural Affairs Commission are public and all are welcomed.
Upon approval by the Cultural Affairs Commission, Destination Creneshaw greenlights artists to move forward with fabrication and production.
For the first cohort of artists, who would be charged with creating permanent sculptures to be integrated into newly designed pocket parks, the curatorial committee nominated a shortlist of established artists fitting the above criteria. Requests for proposals were sent to these artists, and their subsequent proposals were evaluated according to several factors. These included: feasibility of construction and suitability with available sites, along with how well they harmonized with the four organizing principle themes of the project which are: “Firsts,” “Togetherness,” “Improvisation,” and “Dreams.”
The committee ultimately selected Charles Dickson, Melvin Edwards, Maren Hassinger, Artis Lane, Alison Saar, Kehinde Wiley and Brenna Youngblood.
Destination Crenshaw is creating opportunities for artists to showcase their brilliance as the project is built through our Mini Murals program. We work with local, early-career visual artists to create and prominently display works of art along Crenshaw Blvd on large-scale art banners.
Chosen works are displayed around construction worksites, with new opportunities becoming available as construction progresses. Ideally, artworks contain messages and/or images that uplift and inspire the Black LA and the Crenshaw community. In addition to selected artists displaying their works on Crenshaw Boulevard, they receive a stipend and other professional development opportunities.
Destination Crenshaw started the Mini Murals project to offer stipends to artists during the height of COVID, when many artists saw commissions challenged throughout the industry. While our focus is to elevate Black artists through our formal Public Art Cultural process, we want to support the talents of as many Black and Brown artists as possible. In doing so, we hope to display the diaspora of Black art and the creativity embodied by the Crenshaw community while changing the orientation to community improvement and progress through changes in the built environment.
In 2018, the curatorial committee issued an open call “request for qualifications” to solicit interest and participation from local artists at varying career stages. Thirty-five artists moved through the curatorial review and are currently being offered commissions to produce banners that will adorn the site while it continues under construction.
Recently, Destination Crenshaw issued additional mural opportunities and commissions to several artists from the 2018 RFQ group, whose names will be publicly announced ahead of a virtual community meeting and presentation of their proposals to the Cultural Affairs Commission. Both meetings are yet to be scheduled and will be open to the public.
To accomplish our goal to become the largest outdoor exhibition of Black art in the United States and potentially the world, the curatorial commission , in partnership with Perkins & Will, has identified over 100 digital, 2D, and 3D art opportunities throughout the Crenshaw corridor.
Opportunities for murals primarily arise when Destination Crenshaw secures a contract with landlords and business owners along Crenshaw Boulevard who agree to display murals on their property. While many such businesses are eager to partner with DC, the process is detailed and complex. We want our murals to go up in terrific locations, where they will have maximum benefit to the community and are guaranteed to remain for a number of years. It is understood, however, that the murals that ultimately are installed may not be on permanent display; they will be removed within five years in order to offer opportunities to other artists throughout the life of the project, in the tradition of an exhibition in a museum.
As additional public art opportunities will be made public as suitable locations become available; the curatorial committee will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to eligible artists along with an honorarium to develop a concept. Based upon the quality of the proposal and compatibility with the proposed location, the curatorial committee may then grant the commission opportunity to the artist along with an appropriate budget.
We are also excited about growing the career opportunities of our future commissioned artists and look forward to developing our holistic programming dedicated to the career development of artists, entrepreneurs and arts services professionals in the Crenshaw creative economy.
As opportunities arise, the curatorial committee will release requests for proposals to artists who also have submitted their qualifications to the organization or through an open call process. We also share other public art opportunities that come our way.
To ensure you are informed on Destination Crenshaw’s public art process, please click here to complete our interest survey.
If you have any further questions, please email: PublicArts@DestinationCrenshaw.la
Destination Crenshaw Curatorial Committee Members
Joy V. Simmons, MD, Senior art & Exhibition Advisor, Destination Crenshaw
Naima J. Keith, Vice President, Education and Public Programs, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Larry Earl, Owner of 1619 Exhibits
Ron Finley, Founder of the Ron Finley Project
Adam Ayala, Founder of Smile South Central
Dominique Clayton, Founder of Dominique Gallery
Rick Garzon, Founder of Residency Gallery
Antoine Girard, Independent Curator and Art Educator
The commissioning process for permanent sculptures require a longer lead time to fabricate and install than for murals and temporary installations. Therefore, the committee is proposing to start the artist selection process for the permanent 3-D artworks immediately. The artists need to be contacted to ascertain if they have the time and interest in accepting a new commission for this project. Later this summer the committee proposes releasing the RFQ for the temporary art opportunities, followed by review of the proposals for public programming in late Fall 2018. We believe this schedule will ensure efficient and timely coordination with the design team and keep the project on schedule.
The Destination Crenshaw project will create new sidewalks, 30,000 new square feet of landscaping, six pocket parks, 800+ trees, and culturally stamped street furniture (including outdoor seating, shade structures, bicycle racks, and wayfinding signage).
Click here to learn more about opportunities for you to work with the DC construction team to revitalize the Crenshaw corridor.
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In May 2017, Destination Crenshaw was incorporated as an independent non-profit corporation with the purpose of celebrating the history and culture of Black Los Angeles through a 1.3 mile-long art and cultural experience along the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The Destination Crenshaw project will act as a counterbalance to gentrification, solidifying the Crenshaw neighborhood by supporting legacy businesses and fostering a Black creative economic and cultural hub.
Destination Crenshaw’s mission is to improve the quality of life and revitalize the economy in South Los Angeles through arts and culture.