Our Town

City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Los Angeles, California

$250,000

2011

The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs seeks to improve the quality of local life by supporting high-quality art and cultural experiences. The department supports a variety of workshops, theaters, classes, art centers, and events, and aims to bring the arts into every neighborhood of L.A.

The city's Our Town project will focus on one neighborhood in particular: Watts.
Grant funds will support master planning and design for the Watts Historic Train Station Visitors Center and connecting Artist Pathways. The project will enhance and integrate a number of significant cultural sites in the neighborhood, using the arts, mass transit, and environmental sustainability strategies to improve navigability and quality of life for residents and visitors. The Visitors Center will transform an underutilized train station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, into a LEED-certified exhibition space celebrating the arts and historic significance of the Watts community. The Artist Pathways will incorporate the work of environmental artists to create a "green" walkway, linking the Visitor's Center with the nearby Watts Towers. The project expects to increase economic opportunities for local residents, 70 percent who are Latino and 30 percent of whom are African-American. The redeveloped spaces will also promote cultural tourism for the 20,000 tourists who visit the neighborhood annually.