Reimagine Public Art
Over the past year, our lives have been reconstructed. In the space of weeks, we drastically altered the ways we interact with each other and how we consume art. The screen on our devices has become a window into areas we used to inhabit physically. Strategically placed on our coffee tables, a desk, or just held in our hand, we collectively recreated public spaces to share an experience or experience a semblance of human connection. Virtual public spaces have never existed or been explored on this scale.
Reimagine Public Art was imagined to capture this moment and introduces a compelling lineup of artists working across all mediums to give us a glimpse of what hybrid forms public art might take once the city reopens and Angelenos begin to alternate their interactions with each other between virtual and physical public.
More About the Project
In August 2020, the Department of Cultural Affairs Public Art Division (DCA) and City Council designated $340,000 in Arts Development Fees to establish a Citywide COVID-19 Emergency Response Program to provide emergency, economic relief to individual artists who live in Los Angeles.
The Department of Cultural Affairs selected over 250 local artists from across the city to examine what new forms of public art can emerge from this socially produced space and is proud to launch this online Public Art exhibition to establish a representation of this virtual public realm.
DCA gives special thanks to the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) for serving as an essential intermediary partner with this initiative.
DCA’s Reimagine Public Art highlights how artists respond to and reimagine Los Angeles amidst social, economic, and healthcare emergencies. Whether experienced online, from a car, or in another socially distanced way, the public art produced over the past year has shown us that change is both necessary and unstoppable. Public art will continue to expand beyond its traditional forms and move forward with many new voices leading the way.
Through their exploration, our local community of artists created numerous outlets for collective healing, new ways of navigating the city, and moments of levity for fellow Angelenos and international connections alike, even amid their own isolation and personal difficulties.
All of the artists participating in Reimagine Public Art will be included in the main online gallery space, and some have been selected to take part in the Curatorial Showcases. After reviewing the artwork submitted, we were able to identify four of the most common threads that artists were using to define the dimensions that make up our new public realm: a period of reflection and re-examination of space in House and Home; the adaptation of local creative practice during a global pandemic in Bridging the Digital Divide; physical and emotional wellbeing as public art in Community Care; and public art as an evolving social equity tool in Songs for a Revolution. The artists highlighted in the Curatorial Showcases were able to best illustrate one or more of these aspects.
For the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives. In this time, we have all sought — in various forms and outlets — reassurance, human connection, distraction, hope, justice, balance, answers. In our collective search for these things, we embraced digital formats and public space in new ways and at a scale previously unseen, essentially expanding them both so much that we created something new altogether. We created a new public realm that continuously blurs the lines between public and private, real and imagined.
DCA firmly believes in unhindered creative voice and expression. However, due to our commitment to ensuring all content found on our websites be suitable for as many audiences as possible, we are unable to display all of the works submitted to Reimagine Public Art. All participating artists added a dynamic and thought-provoking voice to this project and the greater Los Angeles community during one of the most challenging periods in recent history.
Special thanks to the following artists:
- Dante Alencastre
- Art of Shock
- Kosha DIllz
- Toi’ya Leatherwood
- Dani Nicole
- Danial Nord
- Stuart Sandford
- Joshua Smith
- Jay Washington
Design by Jennifer Rider Studio