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PUBLIC ART AT THE NEW LOS ANGELES STATE HISTORIC PARK

NEWSLETTER WINTER 2005

Los Angeles State Historic Park

Public art in the new Los Angeles State Historic Park should reflect the struggles, hopes, and triumphs of generations who have entered Los Angeles through El Pueblo and the Cornfield to reflect the purpose of the park, the vision of the Cornfield Advisory Committee, and the dreams of the community. Murals, community art projects, interpretive elements, educational programs, and cultural, historical, recreational, and environmental links should engage the community in the inaugural project for the park, along with the interim use project and the proposal to grow corn in the park.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation has proposed the Los Angeles State Historic Park name for the site in one of Los Angeles’s most culturally, historically, and ethnically diverse–and park–poor-communities. According to the Department, “The purpose of the Los Angeles State Historic Park is to provide the public with a place to learn about and to celebrate the ethnically diverse history and cultural heritage of Los Angeles … The Park will bring a wide range of visitors together to examine and experience the complete story of Los Angeles. It will be a sanctuary from the dense, urban environment that surrounds it. The Park will connect abstract historical and social patterns to the personal experiences of Angelenos and visitors from throughout the state, the nation, and the world.” This reflects the vision of the Advisory Committee based on the essential themes of culture and history, connectivity, recreation, and transportation.

In this way public art in the park can reflect the values at stake — giving children safe and healthy places to play, improving recreation and health, equal access to public resources, democratic participation in deciding the future of the community and the park, creating local jobs and economic vitality, and providing the clean air, water, and ground benefits of urban parks. These values will determine the future of a world class park at the birthplace of Los Angeles.