By Matt Stromberg
LA Weekly reported on LA County's civic art collection and field registrar Bridget Campos' work for the Civic Art Baseline Inventory, an undertaking by the Arts Commission's Civic Art Program to delve through 150 years' worth of artwork and document them to ensure that pieces appropriate for accession are maintained for future generations.
Bridget has visited 900 sites across the 4,000 square miles of LA County. After she visits sites (which are typically at LA County departments---usually upwards of ten a week), the home base team of the collections manager (who oversees the process) and registrar (who manages day-to-to operations) determines which artworks satisfy the accession criteria.
At the East Los Angeles Civic Center, for example, a site rich with public art, Campos discovered a work that was hidden in plain sight. A mural painted by the Chicana Service Action Center in the 1970s depicting an empowering scene of workers, many of them women, adorned a wall inside the East L.A. Probation Office. Once completely visible, the mural now had cubicles and desks pushed up against it. 'I was like, ''Oh, my God! This is here?'' Because they've worked here the whole time, everyone was just like, ''Oh, yeah it's here,'' Campos says. 'We had no idea.'
While it seems almost absurd to expect to find works of art in a juvenile probation center or a one-room library or a fire station, that is exactly where the county's art collection resides. That seems to be the point of these public pieces. They create moments of inspiration that interrupt a boring day at a Lancaster hospital or brighten the afternoon of commuters stuck in traffic, as they pass George Stanley's majestic, streamline moderne fountain at the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl.