Oblique Labs, Finalist for the Little Tokyo Public Art Project

Los Angeles – Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) announced Oblique Labs, a collaborative partnership between Nate Imai, Rachel Lee, and Matthew Conway, was selected for the community public art project to be installed

in the heart of Little Tokyo on Alameda and 2nd Streets in downtown Los Angeles. Oblique Labs was chosen from a group of five finalists whose final designs and art proposals were presented in a virtual community meeting, as well as reviewed and scored by a professional peer panel.

The public art project titled The Colors We Share will be produced in joint partnership with the Little Tokyo Service Center. The installation will feature +LAB Takachizu’s community archive and will incorporate imagery gathered through social media to connect Little Tokyo with other Nihonmachi communities across the globe in real-time. As an arts collective interested in solidifying and empowering the community voice of this ethnic enclave, the vision for the project is two-fold: 1) to construct a vertical gateway that connects Little Tokyo with the adjacent Arts District, and 2) create a dynamic display that allows community members to see themselves in the structure and connect with other Japanese gateway communities through locally, nationally, and internationally collected images and colors.

“Through the community engagement process and review of the five finalists, we are eager to see Oblique Labs create a cultural landmark that will serve as an entryway to the historic Little Tokyo neighborhood,” said Councilmember

Kevin de León. “We congratulate Oblique Labs and the Department of Cultural Affairs for working closely with the community to capture and empower the community’s voice in this exciting public art project.”

The corner of Alameda and 2nd Streets is heavily transited and sits on the main thoroughfare, connecting neighborhoods to the south of downtown, to the center of downtown, and to the north of Union Station. The area surrounding Alameda and 2nd Streets is seen as the gateway and major access point to the Little Tokyo neighborhood.

“We are thankful to the community for providing the valuable input necessary to ensure that the public’s voice was incorporated in this process, and for the partnership with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center for working closely with DCA,” said Daniel Tarica, DCA Interim General Manager. “This project received a robust engagement response from the local community and will serve as a beacon of inspiration to residents and visitors of the historic Little Tokyo community.”

The budget for the project is $250,000. The budget is all-inclusive and covers all expenses associated with the design, fabrication, lighting, artists’ fees, and installation. The City will prepare the site for the purpose of supporting and facilitating the implementation of the art project. Funding for the project is provided from the Arts Development Fee Trust Fund.

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