"A place to honor Black triumphs, build Black futures, and make a statement celebrating our present and our presence."
This is the inspiration for the transformative infrastructure project happening in South Central LA's infamous Crenshaw Boulevard. Featuring Black Art heavy hitters, including Charles Dickson, Artis Lane, Alison Saar, and Kehinde Wiley, along with over 100 additional works by Black artists who have strong ties to the city, Destination Crenshaw looks to become “the largest commissioning initiative ever undertaken for Black artists in the United States, and quite possibly the world." according to the project's website.
LA City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson spearheaded the reparative development project in response to major concerns about the impact of a new Metro light rail line planned to run through the center of the community. Concerned citizens voiced fears over the possible detrimental effects of the line, both the physical disruption and the potential for disruptive gentrification as well. Harris-Dawson brought in a dynamic range of arts and community leaders to be advisors and stakeholders on the project, including the Vice President of Education and Public Programs at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Naima Keith; the well-known gardener and activist Ron Finley; rapper Nipsey Hussle, prior to his death in 2019; and Dr. Jill Moniz, Public Art Director for the City of Los Angeles.
Beyond the innovative artistic vision of the project, the initiative will redesign a large stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard, bringing in 30,000 feet of sustainable landscape design, planting more than 800 trees, and a pledge to hire 70% of the workers locally as a way to create hundreds of jobs and boost the economy of the community. According to the project's website, their mission "is nothing less than to place a cultural stamp of Blackness on Crenshaw Boulevard – a stamp akin to those in Chinatown, Mariachi Plaza, Koreatown, and other ethnic enclaves."
Slated to be completed by the fall of 2022, we can't wait to witness this visionary project in person. Until then, you can learn more, donate, and follow along with Destination Crenshaw's progress on their website and social media.