Destination Crenshaw, the $100 million public-private initiative to redesign 1.3 miles of Crenshaw Boulevard as an economically thriving business and cultural corridor, has taken a major step forward, as the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission approved plans for the permanent installation of seven outdoor sculptures along the route.
The seven artists, all closely connected to the Black community of South Los Angeles, who were chosen as the first to contribute new artistic landmarks to the corridor are Charles Dickson, Melvin Edwards, Maren Hassinger, Artis Lane, Alison Saar, Kehinde Wiley, and Brenna Youngblood.
The works now unveiled are the first of many to follow. One hundred Black artists at all stages of their careers will have works installed along Crenshaw Boulevard, making Destination Crenshaw the largest commissioning initiative ever undertaken for Black artists. Taken together, the works will contribute to a sense of aesthetic permanence for Black Los Angeles. The installations are part of an ambitious reimagining of this major artery, which is being transformed through a comprehensive, Afrocentric streetscape design by Perkins & Will; new green community gathering places designed by Studio-MLA; and augmented reality storytelling by Gallagher & Associates.
Funding from diverse public and private sources now stands at $61.5 million, with the Getty Foundation recently adding to the momentum by committing $3 million in grants. In addition, NBA star DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls has volunteered his leadership support for the Sankofa Circle fundraising group, which provides high-level naming opportunities at Destination Crenshaw’s Sankofa Park.
Getty’s funding will support the commissioning, fabrication, and installation of works by Los Angeles Black artists and create a larger partnership with Destination Crenshaw. The Getty Conservation Institute will advise on a conservation and maintenance plan of the public artworks. Getty support will include a program of youth internships and apprenticeships, helping to instill a sense of community pride and ownership of the works and creating job opportunities for young people in the Crenshaw neighborhood. Destination Crenshaw will also develop joint public programming around the artworks with Getty.
“We’re thrilled by the enthusiastic support the City of Los Angeles has given our plans to strengthen the community by installing these exceptional works, whose artists have been nurtured and inspired by the Crenshaw neighborhood,” Jason W. Foster, president and COO of Destination Crenshaw, said. “We express our deep gratitude to the Getty Foundation and all our generous donors for committing themselves to this community-led project, which we initiated with the conviction that residents of one of the world’s largest and most creative Black neighborhoods deserve to live in a beautiful, green, artistically impressive and economically strong environment.”
Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation, added, “Destination Crenshaw will be a fitting and joyful tribute to Black creativity and history, combining a high level of artwork, urban design, and landscape design with targeted economic investment and community engagement every step of the way.”