Just weeks after Destination Crenshaw began construction, the historic Black cultural infrastructure project was awarded $6.5 million in the State of California’s Budget Act of 2021. The critical funding comes after State Sen. Sydney Kamlager fought to have the project included as a priority in this year’s budget.
Once complete, Destination Crenshaw will be the largest Black contemporary public arts project in the nation, stretching 1.3 miles between Slauson and Vernon Avenues along the Crenshaw/LAX Metro Extension Line and spurring over $147 million in economic opportunity and impact for the immediate community (per the preliminary reporting done by the City of LA’s Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation.)
“We have a terrific partner in Senator Kamlager, who understands the importance of this historic project and the opportunity to build an economic catalyst in the most important Black business corridor in California,” said Jason Foster, Destination Crenshaw president and COO. “These resources will help us put local residents to work in the construction of this project, support existing Black-owned businesses on Crenshaw Boulevard, fund significant commissions for Black artists based in the community and hasten the economic revitalization of South Los Angeles.”
Destination Crenshaw’s “DC Thrive” initiative, will get a particular boost from the funding. For the past 15 months, DC Thrive has connected Black businesses on the Crenshaw Corridor to technical support as well as public and private funding, helping them weather the economic impact of the pandemic.
Some of the state funding will be used to sustain efforts that began at the onset of the pandemic.
“We see ourselves as a partner in driving the community’s success,” Foster said. “Yes, an aspect of this project is about art, it’s also about Black ownership, opportunities for our young people and businesses to thrive while improving our community.”
Earlier this year, Destination Crenshaw announced its intention to staff the project’s construction team with a 70 percent local workforce, ensuring the residents of South Los Angeles could benefit from the economic impact of the development directly.
“I am overjoyed my office was able to deliver this critical funding investment for Destination Crenshaw,” said Kamlager (30th District). “This is an extraordinary opportunity to boost the artists that make up the creative economy of Crenshaw, create new opportunities for our Black businesses and entrepreneurs, and support equitable community-led infrastructure that centers the vibrancy and importance of Black Americans’ contributions to Los Angeles and the world.”
Kamlager’s budget requests netted a total $100 million for the region which Foster celebrated as a key to the whole community’s uplift.
Councilmember Marquecce Harris-Dawson, representing Council District 8, home to Destination Crenshaw, lauded Kamlager’s partnership, “This extraordinary opportunity ensures our Black business owners, workers, and homeowners can participate and own the economic growth that’s coming to our region. I’m glad to have Senator Kamlager and the State of California as a partner in realizing our vision for South Los Angeles.”
Construction began on Destination Crenshaw in June and is expected to be completed by late 2022. The $100 million capital project is being funded by both public entities and private philanthropy.