Washington Boulevard Gets a Face Lift

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Category: Art
Published on Friday, 15 December 2017 10:46
Written by Dianne Lawrence
A walk down the Washington Boulevard of the past would land today’s resident in the midst of a vibrant arts scene. They would rub shoulders with famous residents sashaying down the street on their way to opening night at the theatre. They would share a drink with the musicians playing at the nightly jazz show. They would pick up the passion of civil rights icons sharing their vision at the local cafe. They would marvel at Tony Duquette’s grand works, seen through the windows of his workshop. 

DEC17Wash4The Washington Boulevard Public Art and Beautification Project came about when the California Artist Coalition of Los Angeles (CACLA) identified the location as a space where art could catalyze further activity. 

“Our mission is to bring public art and beautification projects to underserved communities,” said Ayndrea Wilson, CACLA executive director. “Art has always been a way to revitalize ailing communities.”

Leading with a monumental 8-by-28-foot mural by painter/sculptress
Artis Lane, the official artist of Rosa Park's and housed in the Ebony Repertory Theater, the project is expansive. Included in the Washington Boulevard project are utility box wraps and street light banners.

Though it’s not the largest project CACLA has worked on, Wilson said, it’s definitely the longest in distance. The project has wrapped 20 utility boxes starting from
Electric Drive to Normandie with 8 boxes designed by students from New LA Charter School and the other 11 designed by visual artists.

CACLA has also installed 13 street light banners between Western and Harvard with artwork created by
ELLE, highlighting the history of some of the distinct neighborhoods along the Washington Blvd. corridor.  

CACLA is committed, and legally bound by a contract, to maintain the project. Upkeep includes making sure the city applies an anti-graffiti coating to the mural, replacing damaged sections, and graffiti removal on any of the project’s components.

Using its experience from working with the now-disbanded Community Redevelopment Agency in the past, CACLA has developed partnerships with private and public programs for this project, whether this was achieving community backing from the Mid-City Neighborhood Council, gaining access to Los Angeles Trade Tech’s apprenticeship program, or reaching out to hardware stores for equipment donations.


The neighborhood certainly is poised for a comeback as an arts community, according to Wilson, who perceives this as an up-and-coming pocket for artists in the city. When the artists come, the restaurants and shops follow, she said. “On that Washington corridor there’s certainly capacity for that,” Wilson said. “We’re giving it a boost for future revitalization.” 

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