Art installations could soon take up sites along the Los Angeles River thanks to a grant worth up to $1 million (£650,000) from former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The CURRENT: LA River initiative – organised by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and mayor Eric Garcetti – will use the money to commission about 15 riverside works relating to water conservation and drought. It is also planning a public art biennial along the LA River.
‘Great public art strengthens cities by making them more exciting and attractive places to live, work and visit,’ says Bloomberg, who has awarded these grants as part of his organisation’s Public Art Challenge programme to support city art projects.
‘Public art can also help us to see urban challenges in a new light – and imagine new solutions,’ he adds.
Marc Pally, artistic director of biannual public art event Glow on Santa Monica beach, will curate the arts programme but the DCA has said Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $1 million grant alone won’t be enough to realise the initiative.
A condition of the grant stipulates CURRENT: LA River has to take place in the next two years. Should the initiative go ahead, it will be another in a long line of riverside public art programmes.
Long stretches of the river have opened to the public over the last few years as part of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, established in 2007.
Three other US projects also received grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies, including a proposal from Gary in Indiana, where artist Theaster Gates will revamp an abandoned building into a cultural hub.