Play the LA River

Project 51 (Nonprofit Receiver: Regents of the University of California)

Funding Received: 2014
Multiple, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months

Play the LA River is a come-one-come-all project by the arts collective Project 51 that invites Angelenos and other communities to explore, enjoy, reclaim and reimagine the 51-mile Los Angeles River as a grand civic space that can green and connect our communities.

The project is collaborative, and our definition of play is broad: Salsa. Picnic. Chess. Paint. Soccer. Sey. Act. Puzzle. Kayak. Nardi. Poker. Bike. Sculpt. Forage. Yoga. Bird. Sing. Tell ghost stories. Run. Hula hoop. Juggle. Bocce ball. Hip hop. Solitaire. Scavenger hunt. Skip. Tai Chi. Charades. Fish. A cappella. Debate. Stroll. 

At the project's center is a collectible, playable card deck, which offers a guide the entire LA River organized into 4 geographical suits"—Valley, Glendale Narrows, Downtown & South. The cards offer 56 sites to discover—52 cool places on the river plus 4 wild-card sites that are close by and river-related. Each card includes a map, information about the site and a few starter ideas for how to play. Thanks to generous funding from ArtPlace America and other sponsors, we were able to make thousands of card decks available to the public for free.

A companion to the card deck, our responsive website offers an interactive version fo the cards, community-generated event calendar, social media stream and more. Finally, for 51 weeks from September 2015 to September 2016, we worked in collaboration with many others on public programming and impromptu gatherings that encouraged Angelenos to explore the river and to participate in its future as a public space serving the communities of Los Angeles County.

For more on Play the LA River, explore our project quik-guide. If you would like to develop a story about the project or the LA River, visit our Pressroom.


See below for recent updates, press, and events from this project

Oct 14, 2016
A century ago, if you’d uttered the word “artist,” chances are it would have been accompanied by the modifier “starving.” Read More
Aug 12, 2015
News that Gehry Partners is at work on a new master plan of the Los Angeles River took Angelenos by surprise late last week. While... Read More
This month I had the opportunity to interview John Arroyo, an urban planner and PhD candidate at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning...Read more