The Los Angeles County Arts Commission Civic Art Program provides leadership in the development of high quality civic spaces by integrating artists into the planning and design process at the earliest possible opportunity, encouraging innovative approaches to civic art, and providing access to artistic experiences of the highest caliber for the residents of Los Angeles County. Working with leading artists, emerging public artists, County departments and communities, the Civic Art Program creates artwork, design, public engagement activities, exhibitions, temporary art and event based programming for new and renovated facilities throughout Los Angeles County. The program has commissioned work for capital projects for public libraries, parks, pools, community centers, jails and health centers.
40 civic art projects were actively managed by the Arts Commission during Fiscal Year 2015-16. The development, fabrication and installation of civic artwork is an integrative process which emphasizes thoughtful coordination with the community, design team members and authorizers to ensure high quality, low maintenance art. Permanent civic art projects generally take two to five years from inception to completion.
The County’s civic art collection belongs to all its residents and is comprised of historic and contemporary civic artworks located on County property. The breadth of the collection includes artworks donated to the County, artworks commissioned under the auspices of the Board of Supervisors and various County Departments prior to the establishment of the Civic Art Program, and artworks created since the 2005 launch of the Civic Art Program including temporary and permanent artworks and creative placemaking initiatives.
Rancho has a history of excellence and innovation, with a patient-family centered approach to care making patient involvement key to the success of civic art at this site. The artist team of Einar and Jamex de la Torre's overall civic art theme is based on the tree of life, a universal symbol of growth, shelter and complex systems, and is meant to reflect the themes at Rancho. They have designed a large-scale sculpture for the plaza and a series of artworks for the Outpatient Facility and Wellness Center.
Artist Kathy Taslitz has designed two artworks that are meant to connect the library visitors and staff to the spirit of Manhattan Beach. To better understand the essence of the community, Taslitz spent time interviewing people along the beach boardwalk. Taslitz chose kelp and jellyfish as vehicles for her interpretation of the place. Personal Archeology is a wall relief sculpture resembling the form of kelp leaves spanning 20 feet by 10 feet which undulate up the wall along the walkway to the mezzanine level. Words describing the past, present and future of Manhattan Beach will be hidden in the intricate pattern of the leaf-like forms. Prevailing Affinities is a series of suspended sculptures simulating a bloom, or family, of jellyfish. Located in the skylight space above the stairwell, 18 bulbous figures, with their extended tentacles touching one another, are meant to embody the act of connection and cohesion among groups of individuals or families within the Manhattan Beach community. The underside of each form will be a different color borrowed from the City’s official seal. The tile mural by Lee Whitten on the former library was donated to the City of Manhattan Beach, now conserved and reinstalled at the entrance of an adjacent parking lot.
Artist Kipp Kobayashi was commissioned to create a sculpture for the atrium lobby of the new 9,700 square foot fire station. Responding to the department’s mission of providing improved fire protection, emergency medical and life safety services to the expanding Santa Clarita Valley and adjacent communities, the artist designed a collection of 3D printed resin sculptures based on equipment, tools, mementos and artifacts found in fire stations throughout the region. The 3D printed objects are grouped into 18 vertical strands suspended on an aluminum frame from the ceiling of the two-story high space.
Planning is in progress for a multistory parking structure with 1,400 staff parking spaces for a rapidly expanding MLK Medical campus. The artwork is intended to become a landmark for Willowbrook and the MLK Medical Campus. The project goal is to create a distinct visual statement that relates well to the structure and the landscape design, without being solely architectural enhancement or elevated design. The artwork will mitigate the scale of the parking garage to the streetscape, strengthen the relationship between the campus and the neighborhood, go beyond obvious themes and assumptions about the community, and appeal to the diverse group that will come into contact with it.