Calling all stage designers, visual artists, art directors, and costume designers for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create the winning design for the main stage curtain in the historic Vision Theater in Leimert Park.
Materials and Application Deadline – Friday, October 30, 5:00 p.m.
See below for details.
~ Competition Timeline ~
09/25/20 Competition Begins
10/30/20 Competition Closes
11/02/30 Independent Panel Convenes
11/09/20 Community Votes on Top Three Picks
12/04/20 Voting Closes
12/14/20 Winner Announced!
Submit your application and upload your artwork here: https://airtable.com/shrlu6MpBTchGCHOr
DCA’s Performing Arts Program will launch the Vision Theatre Main Stage Curtain Design Competition as part of the renovation of the historic Vision Theatre in Leimert Park.
The Vision Theatre / Manchester Youth Arts Center
Designed in 1931 in a classic Southern California Spanish Colonial style, this Art Deco wonder has retained its status in the community for over 80 years. With its name on the tall steel frame on top of the lower stucco-clad tower, the neighborhood movie palace that once operated as the Leimert Theatre by Fox West Coast Theaters is a cultural landmark in the South LA community.
Actress Marla Gibbs purchased the theater in 1990 and renamed it the Vision Theatre. After the 1992 uprising and economic recession, the bank foreclosed on the property in 1997, and the Department of Cultural Affairs acquired the property. The theater was later converted into a performing arts center and hosted the Pan African Film Festival until the Department of Cultural Affairs began renovations.
The Vision Theatre completed an $11 million renovation in 2011. Final renovations began in October 2015 to reconfigure seating; add a lounge area, enlarge the stage, and add a fly loft with office spaces. Lower level dressing rooms, green rooms, a trap room, technical staff office space, and an orchestra pit are included in the renovation.
The goal of updating the Vision Theatre is so that the community would have a world-class performing arts venue for theater, music, dance and performing arts productions; a training center for cultural talent reflective of the surrounding Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, and South Los Angeles community; to provide space for cultural forums; and to serve as a center for community meetings.
Leimert Park was the brainchild of developer Walter H. Leimert, who began the subdivision business center project in 1928. Leimert Park Village is now home to many important cultural institutions, including the Leimert Park Art Walk, KAOS Network, The World Stage, Fernando Pullum Performing Arts Center, Art + Practice, Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, Eso Won Books, California Jazz and Blues Museum, and many cultural festivals, arts events, and celebrations.
The Vision Theatre is considered a significant stakeholder in Leimert Park Village, and a stronghold for the African American community. Dubbed the “Black Greenwich Village” by the late filmmaker John Singleton, Leimert Park is regarded as the cultural hub for African Americans in Los Angeles.
The Vision Theatre is scheduled to re-open in 2021. The date aligns with the new Leimert Park Metro Station opening and the completion of newly remodeled streets and parks that are part of Destination Crenshaw.
The winning main stage curtain should reflect the richness of the history of the theatre and the community. The winning design will serve as a symbol of the Vision Theatre, Leimert Park Village, and the South LA community for generations to come.
The competition is for a $5,000 award upon completion of the curtain. Royal Construction Company, the construction company that received the renovation bid for the Vision Theatre, will provide the award.
DCA will accept proposals for a new theater curtain design from stage designers, costume designers, art directors, and visual artists based in Los Angeles County. All are welcome to apply, and there are no age restrictions—only one entry allowed per artist. Employees of the City of Los Angeles and Royal Construction Company are not eligible.
All applications must be from designers currently residing in Los Angeles County.
How to Apply
Please submit your application and materials using the link https://airtable.com/shrlu6MpBTchGCHOr. Provide the following information:
- Full name, address, email, and telephone number.
- A 150-word biography and general description of your work with web links to portfolios or webpages (maximum 500 words).
- A headshot (if available, informal photo accepted)
- A one (1) page artistic statement outlining the story, narrative, meaning, symbolism, and influence for the curtain design (maximum 500 words).
- Submit up to three (3) drawings or renderings of the same design (not three separate designs), on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, in color. Photos of drawings will be accepted. All designs must be clear and legible.
- From the roster of design elements below, describe the proposed color(s), fabric(s), and tassel(s) you selected from the list of required design elements. Also, describe the additional unique design elements/materials selected to complete your submission.
- Submit up to five (5) 8 1/2 x 11 pages of images for the additional unique design elements submitted to complete your proposed design samples.
Download the DCA Competition Materials Packet from https://culturela.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/VIS-Curtain-Competition-Materials-Packet.pdf, which includes:
- History of the Vision Theatre
- Images of the renovated theater exterior
- Images of the renovated theater interior
- Image of the historic ceiling mural
- Image of the renovated Vision Theatre seats
- Main stage curtain dimensions
- A roster of materials to select from/be inspired by:
- Color palettes from approved curtain material manufacturer.
- Fabric samples from an approved curtain material manufacturer.
- Tassels provided by an approved vendor
- Additional sourced materials, i.e., African cloth, sequins, appliques, etc., are welcome
- Image of the historic mural, “Visions,” by Michael Massenburg
- You must use at least one sample (your choice) from the fabric, color palettes, and tassels provided as the foundation for your design from the roster of materials.
- The design must support the theater’s art deco nature and speak to the Black community and the history of Leimert Park and South Los Angeles.
Once all designs are submitted, an independent panel of experts will select the top three curtain designs. Selected finalists will be notified.
The community will vote on the three final designs; the design with the most votes will receive the Vision Theatre Main Stage Curtain Design award. The Department will announce the winner in December 2020, and the curtain will go into immediate production for installation into the theater by April 2021.
Upon receiving the award, the designer will then work with the curtain manufacturer to complete the curtain’s design, understanding that the design may need to be augmented to meet the theater’s technical and safety needs.
Funds provided for the competition were procured from the overall construction budget provided for the Vision Theatre renovation.
Criteria for the competition are subject to updates. Be sure to check in regularly at www.culturela.org.
For questions or information about applying or the process, please contact Yvonne Farrow, DCA Special Projects Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.