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Victoria Park Cooks

Concina Abierta Collective
Artwork Type
Media & Support
Public Engagement Program
Parks and Recreation

419 East 192nd Street
Carson, CA
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Latitude: -118.268902 - Longitude: 33.857236
Image: Victoria Park Cooks

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The Creative Graffiti Abatement Project was implemented by the Department of Arts and culture from 2013 to 2017 in four neighborhoods in south LA County. Civic artworks at two parks and two libraries in these neighborhoods were intended to increase community pride and ownership of public assets and ultimately lead to the reduction of graffiti vandalism at county properties. The project team made additional investments in community engagement as a crucial element for project success. The project was designed create new cultural assets that would meet the needs of each site and test a new model to ensure that artists were fully supported to meet the demands of the project. The project team also embraced evaluation as a component of the project design.

In addition to permanent art installations and temporary artist-led engagement programs at each site, the project team produced a documentary video chronicling the development of each artwork and an evaluation report of findings and lessons learned from all four project sites.

Cocina Abierta Collective’s artwork for the Victoria Community Regional Park is a series of cooking videos that profile five members of the Victoria Park community preparing family recipes and participating in their favorite activities at the park. The videos accompany improvements that were made to the Victoria Park kitchen, multipurpose room and courtyard.
To get to know the park, Cocina Abierta attended community programs and observed how food plays a central role in bringing people together. The artists conducted recipe swaps during evening football practices and potlucks where they exchanged recipes with park users.
From their interactions, the artists identified five community chefs to participate in the project. In collaboration with videographer Mark Escribano and art and public engagement consultant Sara Daleiden, they filmed each chef preparing his or her favorite dish reflecting on the importance of family and tradition. The team also produced a series of profiles that show the chefs participating in ballroom dancing, basketball, tennis and softball at the park. View the videos at
Local youth from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps helped to complete the aesthetic improvements at the park, which include a new kitchen island and cooking tools, mirrors for dance instruction, cork and chalkboards for notices, and picnic tables painted with colorful stencils. The artwork is one of four projects, funded by a grant from the Los Angeles County Parks and Regional Open Space District, that use arts-based solutions to promote the value of civic spaces and deter vandalism at County properties.

ABOUT THE ARTIST Cocina Abierta is run by a collective of Los Angeles based artists and restaurant workers. They organize food based interventions such as communal cookouts, DIY cooking shows and recipe swaps in collaboration with diverse community groups.