The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) was awarded a major grant from ArtPlace to design and build two new arts venues and to help plan arts programming for a third venue. All three venues are in various stages of being planned and built for the Los Angeles Arts District neighborhood. They are: (1) the Hispanic Steps, an indoor amphitheater designed by Hodgetts+Fung, (2) the Outdoor Pavilion, which will be the largest public arts venue in the Arts District when complete and designed by Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich of P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, and (3) a multi-purpose 99-seat theater in One Santa Fe, a mixed-use, transit oriented development designed by Michael Maltzan.
As SCI-Arc comes to the end of its original grant period, Director Eric Owen Moss and Chief Operating Officer Jamie Bennett took a moment to look over the past year and share their insight.
ArtPlace: What advice would you give to other design organizations seeking an ArtPlace grant?
In order to achieve creative placemaking, artists and architects need to reach beyond themselves and touch the broader community. “Select a project which legitimately expands the aesthetic content in the local community,” said Eric Owen Moss, SCI-Arc Director. “Use art and architecture to outreach to the community – not just to the specialists, but to the general public.”
Artists and architects should think about the skills and technologies they can apply from their profession to help build cities that are more livable and attractive. Designers and artists have a natural tendency to rethink the world around them, a critical step in increasing the vibrancy and vitality of a place. By collaborating with organizations from all disciplines, there is an opportunity for art and architecture to transform and revitalize communities, building places that thrive and inspire people.
ArtPlace: How would you encourage new grantees to leverage their ArtPlace grants for maximum effect?
Jamie Bennett: I would encourage new grantees to collaborate with other organizations outside of their field as this will allow them to deepen their community engagement. As an example, SCI-Arc collaborated with Arts District organizations, such as the Los Angeles River Artists and Business Association (LARABA) and Los Angeles Downtown Arts District (LADAD) Space, and as a result, we can ensure that these venues have a cultural impact beyond the impact of their design.
In the process of executing the project, stay focused on larger goals. Two years ago we bought our building and now we are thrilled that we’re able to contribute as an arts and cultural anchor for the Arts District. We look forward to all of the positive changes that will be taking place in our community over the next few years.