After nearly two years of construction, Destination Crenshaw announced this month that Sankofa Park - the first major component of the $100-million project - is set to make its debut in Fall 2023.
Designed by Perkins&Will, the new open space at Crenshaw and Leimert Boulevards will incorporate installations and sculptures from artists including Charles Dickson, Maren Hassinger, Artis Lane, and Kehinde Wiley. The name and design of the park alludes the Sankofa bird, a traditional African symbol which is depicted flying toward the future while curving its neck to view the past.
“Since we broke ground in February 2020, Destination Crenshaw has continued to grow in scope and ambition,” said Destination Crenshaw chief operating officer and president Jason Foster in a news release. “Responding to our community, we have been supporting Black-owned businesses and hiring local workers, resisting the erasure of Black culture, and designing a vibrant, green urban corridor that, when completed, will be bursting with storytelling and magnificent public artworks.
Sankofa Park is slated to be followed by additional green spaces along the 1.3-mile project corridor during 2023, including new sculptures by Melvin Edwards, Alison Saar, and Brenna Youngblood. Those will give way to new murals from local artists such as Patrick Henry Johnson, Anthony “Toons One” Martin, and Kissai Ramsess.
To date, Destination Crenshaw has raised $72 million of its total goal, according to the Los Angeles Times. That figure includes funding from Metro, The Getty Foundation, Federal Community Project Funding, and most recently, a $2.4 million contribution from Destination Crenshaw's Sankofa Circle support group, which was led by Issa Rae and NBA star DeMar DeRozan.
The project corridor spans Crenshaw Boulevard between 60th Street in the south and Vernon Avenue in the north. It was envisioned as a response to Metro's decision to build the Crenshaw/LAX light rail line at street level through the Hyde Park community. At the time, critics argued that at-grade operations would divide the neighborhood and pose a safety risk to area residents.
The project, which will see additional components debut through 2024, will ultimately include 11 new parks and a public amphitheater, as well as the planting of street trees and landscaping. Other members of the project team include landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA and Gallagher & Associates, which is providing augmented reality storytelling.
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- Destination Crenshaw (Urbanize LA)