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Embrace and enhance opportunities for arts and culture.

The river should reflect the diversity of its neighboring cultures, communities, and organizations.
LA County Public Works, 2019.

The LA River has long been at the cultural and historical heart of Los Angeles. From its first Indigenous Peoples to the many neighborhoods it runs through, engages, and enhances today, the river has always been a valued community resource.

LA County has the opportunity to advance culture, arts, creativity, and community pride throughout the county and to inspire by recognizing, fostering, and preserving the rich tangible and lived cultural heritage along the LA River corridor. The river presents an opportunity to recognize and incubate new ideas and talent among the next generation of cultural practitioners, offering new cultural opportunities, experiences, and spaces where the arts can flourish and be shared. Interventions that are permanent or temporary, or reflect socially based practices of art, design, and gathering are all waiting to be realized. As a notorious local cultural resource with global influence and stature, the LA River corridor can be a major destination that draws residents and tourists alike, that promotes the equitable inclusion of LA County’s diverse people, and that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the local communities through which it flows.


Steps that should be taken to achieve the goal

LA River Arts and Culture Need
LA County Arts and Culture Need Ruler.
OLIN, 2019.

Needs: Arts and Culture

Communities should have arts and cultural facilities proportional to their population size.

Arts and culture need was evaluated by comparing the number of known arts and culture assets at a given location with population density and household income to assess a community’s relative access to art and cultural facilities.
LA County Map
LA County Arts & Culture Need.
OLIN, 2021.
Asset mapping is a tool that begins with a belief in asset-based community development, i.e, that things of value already exist in communities and can be encouraged to advance those communities. For the LA River Master Plan, asset mapping consisted of data collection from various sources including facilities and sites such as museums, art and cultural centers, churches, historical facilities, significant architectural sites and landscapes, and sites for public art and free concerts. Asset mapping was primarily derived from 2016 LA County GIS Data Portal: LA County Points of Interest Data which identifies a variety of facilities throughout LA, however other LA County and City of Los Angeles open datasets were also included. Asset mapping in LA County is acknowledged to be incomplete based on the limitations of currently available sources of data. Future efforts are recommended in the Master Plan Goals, Actions, and Methods to create a more robust database of arts and cultural resources going forward. Given the lack of detail about the size or significance of specific assets, the relative density of assets was used for evaluating need. Areas with a higher density of cultural assets were categorized as general need, while areas with a low density of assets were categorized as very high need.
Population density was used to compare the relative number of assets in a given location to the number of people at that location. Population data was derived from the U.S. Census Bureau 2015–2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Areas with a high population density were categorized as very high need, while areas with a low density, general need.
Household income was used to identify areas where a household’s financial constraints may limit access to art and cultural facilities. Household income was derived from the U.S. Census Bureau 2012–2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Areas with a low household income were categorized as very high need, while areas with a high household income, general need.

Sites with Very High Need for Arts and Culture

Case Studies

Waterfront Seattle Art Plan, Seattle, WA

The Waterfront Seattle Art Plan was created as part of the Concept Design and Framework plan for Seattle’s Central Waterfront. This masterplan was developed, in conjunction with artists, to transform the industrial Central Seattle waterfront into a dynamic pubic space with art at the forefront. The plan is an advocates for the oversight and funding of public art along the waterfront.

Lessons Learned

  • Plan advocates for a dynamic framework for funding, oversight, and implementation of public art
  • Plan identifies unique opportunities along “continuous elements”of waterfront like promenades and tide lines as well as nodes that connect the site to existing urban grid
  • The process involved artists early on for successful identification of locations and strategies for public art as well as implementation
View along pathway of the waterfront along the Seattle greenway.
The concept for the Waterfront Seattle Art Plan outlines continuous elements that extend the length of the waterfront. These elements range from promenades to thematic pieces to create a cohesive waterfront.
Ronimcmc, Olympic sculpture park, 2008. Source License: CC BY-SA 4.0.
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