The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) today announced the sites, government and community agencies supporting the initiative, and the project management team for the inaugural, citywide public art biennial, CURRENT:LA Water, taking place from July 16 to August 14, 2016. The biennial is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Designated sites were chosen to focus on the topic of water, the theme for the biennial’s first edition, to examine this critical resource from many perspectives.
Government and community agencies are collaborating to support the initiative, and the project team has been assembled to manage all aspects of the biennial, from the branding – to the programming – to the installation of the art at the following fifteen locations for the biennial’s temporary art installations: Bowtie Project (Council District 1); South Weddington Park (Council District 2); Origin of the LA River (Council District 3); Sunnynook River Park (Council District 4); Cheviot Hills Recreation Center (Council District 5); Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area (Council District 6); Hansen Dam (Council District 7); Norman O. Houston Park (Council District 8); South Los Angeles Wetland Park (Council District 9); Westside Neighborhood Park (Council District 10); Del Rey Lagoon (Council District 11); Bee Canyon (Council District 12); Echo Park (Council District 13); 1st Street Bridge (Council District 14); and Point Fermin Park (Council District 15).
“The Department of Cultural Affairs selected the CURRENT:LA Water sites to help develop a narrative about our relationship to water and its allied systems. The internationally recognized artists selected to participate in the biennial are developing projects at these public spaces to delight all who experience them and encourage important conversations about this critical resource,” said Felicia Filer, DCA’s Public Art Division Director.
In June 2015, the City of Los Angeles was selected as one of four cities to receive up to $1 million as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, a new program aimed at supporting temporary public art projects that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships, and drive economic development. L.A.’s winning project, CURRENT:LA Water, will establish the first Public Art Biennial for the City of Los Angeles. The exhibition is also supported with a match from DCA’s Arts Development Fee (ADF) Program and a $50,000 grant from The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation.
The DCA initiative was also made possible by support from agencies in the local communities surrounding the sites, and from government agencies at the federal, state, county, and city levels including: the United States Army Corps of Engineers – Los Angeles District, Los Angeles County Flood Control District, the multi-jurisdictional LA River Cooperation Committee, and the following City of Los Angeles agencies: the Bureau of Engineering; the Department of Recreation and Parks; the Department of Transportation; the Department of Water and Power; LARiverWorks, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s specialized interdepartmental team to accomplish revitalization of the Los Angeles River; and the 13th Council District Office (Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Chair of the Council’s Arts, Parks, and Los Angeles River Committee).
The project team is being led by DCA and includes the following agencies:
River LA (formerly LA River Revitalization Corporation)
Social Impact Evaluation Team
Site Partnership (The Bowtie)
“CURRENT:LA is a temporary public art initiative that aims to establish a new paradigm for public art in Los Angeles, one that is transformative and contributes to the creation of social capital and public discourse locally, nationally, and globally. We are so thankful for the collaboration and support of the community, government agencies, and our production team to maximize the potential for public art to create dialogue and help change how we understand and respond to important issues like water,” said Danielle Brazell, DCA’s General Manager.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to host both visitors and residents of the city of Los Angeles so that they may get better acquainted with the Bowtie Project situated along the LA River. The CURRENT:LA Water public art biennial will give people a chance to explore and experience public art outdoors along this beautiful Glendale Narrows section of the river,” said Julia Meltzer, Director of Clockshop at the Bowtie Project, one of the CURRENT:LA site partnerships.
Over 130 artists submitted proposals for the initiative that resulted in the final 13 artists and artist teams selected to participate in this inaugural biennial at the sites announced, including: Refik Anadol + Peggy Weil (team); Edgar Arceneaux; Josh Callaghan + Daveed Kapoor (team); Mel Chin; Chris Kallmyer; Candice Lin; Lucky Dragons (Luke Fischbeck + Sarah Rara); Teresa Margolles; Kori Newkirk; Michael Parker; Gala Porras-Kim; Rirkrit Tiravanija; and Kerry Tribe.
Initial curatorial oversight and selection of the artists was provided by artist and curatorial advisor, Marc Pally and a committee of esteemed LA-based curators with experience in issue-based public art and biennial presentations. Ongoing curatorial support is provided by the following curators: Ruth Estévez (REDCAT, Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts Theater), Rita Gonzalez (LACMA), Karen Moss (Otis College of Art and Design and USC Roski School of Fine Arts and Design), and Irene Tsatsos (Armory Center for the Arts).
Commissioned public programming will accompany the works of the artists in varied formats, including dialogues, panels, performances, hands-on workshops, and other educational opportunities and public events. Specific details will be announced in the coming weeks through a complete conCURRENT Calendar of Events.
The Department of Cultural Affairs is accepting applications on a rolling basis for concurrent events from neighborhood organizations or community groups that contribute to the dialogue around the topic of water as part of CURRENT:LA programming. Please visit the CURRENT:LA website for eligibility requirements and how to submit ideas for consideration: http://www.currentla.org/participate.
About the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)
As a leading, progressive arts and cultural agency, DCA empowers Los Angeles’ vibrant communities by supporting and providing access to quality visual, literary, musical, performing, and educational arts programming; managing vital cultural centers; preserving historic sites; creating public art; and funding services provided by arts organizations and individual artists.
Formed in 1925, DCA promotes arts and culture as a way to ignite a powerful dialogue, engage LA’s residents and visitors, and ensure LA’s varied cultures are recognized, acknowledged, and experienced. DCA’s mission is to strengthen the quality of life in Los Angeles by stimulating and supporting arts and cultural activities, ensuring public access to the arts for residents and visitors alike.
DCA advances the social and economic impact of arts and culture through grant making, public art, community arts, and strategic marketing and development. DCA creates and supports arts programming, maximizing relationships with other city agencies, artists, and arts and cultural nonprofit organizations to provide excellent service in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars.
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