Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson has been hard at work providing a better-looking Crenshaw to the community. Part of the renovation includes the new Destination Crenshaw project.
Q: When did this project start?
A: This project started after it was determined that the Crenshaw/LAX light rail would run above ground through Hyde Park, bifurcating Crenshaw Blvd. The community had concerns that included business retention and gentrification. Destination Crenshaw would be a way to visually stake a claim on our neighborhoods and combat potential erasure.
Phase one of the project, including Sankofa Park, will be completed in April, 2023.
Q: What is the purpose behind the project?
A: Destination Crenshaw is a new model for place-keeping. There is a multi-pronged approach to building Black equity into the project’s core, focusing on employment, assistance for legacy businesses, and the largest number of commissions for Black artists in the country.
Q: What streets will this project be built on?
A: Destination Crenshaw will run down Crenshaw Boulevard, spanning 1.3 miles between Slauson Avenue and 46th Street.
Q: How will this project benefit Crenshaw and the Black community?
A: Council District Eight is home to the largest Black population in the city of LA. Destination Crenshaw has an unprecedented goal of 70 percent local hire. This allows us to build sustainable career pathways to union jobs for those who live here.
We are simultaneously creating infrastructure for new and existing businesses and creating cultural infrastructure with monumental art and beautifully landscaped public spaces to gather.
On a macro level, the project shows that our community is worth investing in after decades of disinvestment.
Q: Where are you getting the artist for this project from?
A: Destination Crenshaw has an incredible curatorial team, which selects renowned Black artists with ties to the Black Los Angeles community and who are experienced with large-scale projects. Additionally, we have had a few open calls specifically for artists from South LA.
Q: Will there be an emphasis on Black art and Black artists?
A: Yes. The emphasis is on Black culture, history, and present experience, along with Black artists, to retain our cultural footprint on Crenshaw Boulevard. Artists include Melvin Edwards; Maren Hassinger; Charles Dickson; Brenna Youngblood; Artis Lane; Alison Saar; and Kehinde Wiley.
In addition to the art being unapologetically Black, the project has integrated our history into the design. The architectural team, Will + Perkins, is the same team that designed the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
-Q: How can the community get involved?
A: Folks in the community have been very involved and shown a lot of support for this project. The project integrated community outreach and feedback at its very inception. We hope to continue to have their support. We ask community members to keep frequenting our local businesses, share any potential employment or artist opportunities through Destination Crenshaw, and show up to our events.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we had a visit from Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg; Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37); and Mayor Garcetti. Destination Crenshaw will include over 100 works of art, pocket parks, community gathering spaces, and hundreds of newly planted trees and landscaping.
This cultural infrastructure project along Crenshaw creates beautiful spaces for a community that has historically endured generations of disinvestment. Destination Crenshaw says South LA is desirable, valuable, and historic. Our people deserve this.