The City of Los Angeles’s Cultural Affairs Commission has approved plans for the initial stage of Destination Crenshaw, the $100 million public art and environmental revitalization project that aims to turn a 1.3-mile-long stretch of South Los Angeles into a hub for Black arts and culture.
Earlier this month, the organizers revealed the designs for seven permanent sculptures by artists Charles Dickson, Melvin Edwards, Maren Hassinger, Artis Lane, Alison Saar, Kehinde Wiley, and Brenna Youngblood that will be installed on Crenshaw Boulevard. Four of the pieces will be placed in the new Sankofa Park to be built at 46th Street, named after the traditional African symbol of a bird mid-flight, with others sited further down towards 50th Street, near the project’s southern terminal on Slauson Avenue.
Among the inaugural commissions are Dickson’s Car Culture, a towering totem combining tradition and technology, with fiber optic cables connecting figures of West African rituals to car parts. And Kehinde Wiley will create a female counterpart to his Rumors of War statue depicting a triumphant young Black man riding a horse, a powerful rejoinder to the Confederate monuments taken down across the country in recent years.
Over the next six years, a total of 100 works by emerging, mid-career, and established artists will be placed along the 1.3-mile corridor, making it the largest commissioning initiative ever for Black creators.
The project has some major funding firepower behind it. The Getty Foundation recently committed $3 million in grants for commissions, and professional basketball player DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls is leading a fundraising effort that includes naming opportunities in Sankofa Park.
“Destination Crenshaw will be a fitting and joyful tribute to Black creativity and history,” Getty Foundation director Joan Weinstein said in a statement. “We are proud to join with other funders, public and private, in supporting this ambitious cultural place-keeping initiative, which though unique in location and scope can serve as a model for other communities throughout the country.”
Here are some renderings of the first commissions for Destination Crenshaw: