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Rise and Shine

Artwork Type
Media & Support
17 ft. x 10 ft.* (5.18 x 3.05 m)
Public Library
A.C. Bilbrew Library
150 East El Segundo Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
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Latitude: -118.272344 - Longitude: 33.916116
Image: Rise and Shine

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Rise and Shine The renovation of AC Bilbrew Library began in 2015 and called for updating much of the interior and exterior using environmentally friendly materials and sustainable design techniques. Built in 1974, the library was named after Madame AC Bilbrew, a community leader, poet and musician. Bilbrew, a pioneer in radio, was the first African American to have her own radio show in the United States. The building was designed by architect Vincent J. Proby and is also famous for housing the Black Resource Center that includes collections relevant to the social, historical and cultural aspects of African American history.
As part of the renovation, artist team Greenmeme was commissioned to develop an artwork for the interior courtyard. In keeping with the goals of the renovation library project, staff expressed their desire to integrate native landscaping into the design of the artwork. In addition, focus groups with the Friends of AC Bilbrew Library and local teens prompted a cross-generational exchange about how the library’s history could be made relevant to new audiences.
Greenmeme also conducted a series of studies documenting the building’s architecture and the tiles that are prominently featured on the exterior. The pattern in the tiles became the inspiration for the design of gold ribbons that provide seating in the courtyard. Planters and a trellis were also added so that the courtyard would become an outdoor garden and gathering space that could host poetry readings, performances and discussions.
The artwork is a part of a series of 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. This artwork aims to demonstrate how design and integrated landscaping can be a physical deterrent to vandalism, and also promotes the continued preservation of AC Bilbrew Library, an important community asset.

To learn more about the artists: Greenmeme, comprised of artists Freya Bardell and Brian Howe, operates in a territory between art, architecture and landscape, taking a process driven and community focused approach to design. In each project, they include the community in the making and stewardship of the artwork. They strive to make pieces that are integrated, thought provoking and capable of generating engagement.