CURRENT:LA Public Art Biennial

CURRENT:LA is Los Angeles’ first citywide Public Art Biennial taking place in summer, 2016. Putting a new spin on the traditional international biennial, CURRENT:LA will democratize the way people access art by featuring temporary public art projects and public programs at outdoor locations, taking art out of the museum environment and into the diverse neighborhoods of our City where residents live, work, and play.

Every two years, the CURRENT:LA Public Art Biennial will focus on a theme that affects Los Angeles and other global cities in order to inspire civic discourse on the issue, using contemporary art as a way to deepen connections between people. Commissioned projects featured in CURRENT:LA will be selected by an independent curatorial team of established arts professionals with experience in issues-based public art.  This city-wide cultural event is presented by the Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), a department that has championed the arts in Los Angeles since 1925.

The first presentation of the CURRENT:LA Public Art Biennial in 2016 is funded by DCA and Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Public Art Challenge initiative. The CURRENT initiative is funded through a match between the City’s Arts Development Fee (ADF) Program and private sources.

WATER was chosen for Los Angeles’ inaugural biennial as a platform for the exchange of ideas around our relationship to water as global citizens. The issue of water is relevant and timely for LA, given that California’s current drought is one of the most severe ever recorded. Our challenges are similar to those faced by cities and regions around the world, with ever-increasing local and global demands for water resources to meet human, commercial, and agricultural needs.  To better foster discussion, CURRENT:LA Water will stage large-scale art commissions next to bodies of water, both manmade and natural, including some alongside the Los Angeles River as a way to support the City’s broad and long-term goal of creating the River as a rehabilitated public corridor for art, culture, and community engagement.

The CURRENT initiative is for all residents and visitors of Los Angeles. CURRENT:LA Water will consist of temporary outdoor art works that are open to the public and free to attend, giving everyone direct access to cultural experiences. In addition, creative public programming and other ancillary events will be hosted for the duration of the biennial. This month-long event aims to connect the over 4 million people living in communities throughout Los Angeles to inspire social action through the imaginative power of art.

For questions about CURRENT:LA, please contact DCA’s Public Art Division at or 213-202-5544 or visit the website.


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