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Destination Crenshaw Projects Get City Approval. What Big Names in Black Art Are Making for L.A.

Destination Crenshaw, the 1.3-mile public art corridor on Crenshaw Boulevard with a lineup of top names including Kehinde Wiley and Alison Saar, had kept its works of art tightly under wraps while awaiting a Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission vote. 

On Wednesday, the commission greenlighted plans for all seven permanent installations scheduled to debut in the first phase of the project in fall 2022.

Fundraising for the $100 million Destination Crenshaw — which now stands at $61.5 million — is getting a boost from DeMar DeRozan, a Chicago Bulls player, who will lead a new private fundraising drive, organizers said. 

The Getty Foundation is providing $3 million for artist commissions, fabrication and conservation planning for the first seven sculptures.

As part of a larger partnership, the Getty Conservation Institute will consult on conservation of the works. Destination Crenshaw’s youth interns and those hired for apprenticeships will assist with conservation and maintenance.

“The Getty partnership is an incredible opportunity for Destination Crenshaw to grow as a cultural institution focused on Black artists,” Destination Crenshaw President Jason W. Foster said in an interview. “The approval from the Cultural Affairs Commission marks an important moment for the project because it allows our artists to go into fabrication of these cultural monuments. We’re excited for the opportunity to continue to move this project forward.”

So what can we expect to see lining the “Afrocentric streetscape,” as Destination Crenshaw describes it?

Four of the sculptures will stand in the new Sankofa Park at 46th Street, one of 10 parks Destination Crenshaw will create, adding 4 acres of green space to the area.

Kehinde Wiley’s work for Sankofa Park furthers his “Rumors of War” series, a response to still-standing Confederate statues. The untitled work will be a 27-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a young West African woman atop a horse and headed into battle. The series addresses issues around race, power and historical inequities in cultural monuments, but the new Destination Crenshaw work broadens the conversation, the artist has said. Wiley empowers his woman on horseback, “an indictment of the ways in which African women have traditionally been viewed,” according to the project description.