5 design things to do Feb 27 - Mar 4

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Sankofa Park, Destination Crenshaw is breaking ground this week.

Coming up: Learn about the Afro-Latin homes and culture in early Los Angeles; see Elizabeth Gahan's embellished photos capturing the soul of LA architecture; mingle with ceramics by Shio Kusakaat at Neutra VDL Research House; attend the groundbreaking of South LA's Destination Crenshaw; and consider the future of engineered land in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles was settled in 1781 by Pobladores, a group of people of mixed Spanish and African descent (shown here in a later photograph).

1) AfroLAtinidad

A re-creation of an historical Afro-Latinx home, complete with personal objects, photographs, art, and digital media, brings alive the history of the Pobladores, the pre-American settlers of Los Angeles of mixed African, Indigenous, and Spanish descent. The exhibition, entitled afro-LAtinidad: mi casa, my city, is at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, in the heart of early downtown. While there, check the museum's newly dedicated its Historic Paseo Walkway, leading from  Main Street through LA Plaza Village to Hill Street. Designed by Los Angeles landscape design firm SWA, the paseo features an arched gateway, native landscaping, historical signage and two public art installations: "Transportapueblos": Companion of Migrants, a community-built sculpture, and "Wall Against Walls", a section of the Berlin Wall with a message from the citizens of Berlin. 

When: Exhibition runs through July 20

Where: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 N. Main Street, Los Angeles 90012

Tickets: Free. Click here for more information.

Elizabeth Gahan, Swan & Flamingo, oil and acrylic on panel, 30 x 40 inches; Angelenos may see this is derived from a photo of the Venice Canals.

2) Elizabeth Gahan at George Billis Gallery

George Billis Gallery Los Angeles on La Cienega represents several artists whose topic is the urban fabric of Los Angeles. Now on show is an exhibition of works by Elizabeth Gahan, called "On Second Thought". Gahan starts with a photograph, then embellishes it with "a combination of saturated colors, delicate line-work, ephemeral transparencies, and robust gel applications to represent a contemporary view" of how architecture, urban planning, art, technology, and popular culture shape our everyday experiences. At a time when Los Angeles is experiencing significant urban development, Gahan choses to capture a sense of place that transcends recent alterations, and relishes in the character, charm, light and color that are unique to Los Angeles.

When: Exhibition runs through March 28

Where: George Billis Gallery, 2716 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles 90034

Tickets: Free; click here for information.

Image result for shio kusaka at neutra

3) Shio Kusaka at Neutra VDL Research House

Responding to the unique architectural environment of Richard Neutra's Los Angeles home and workspace, artist Shio Kusaka has quietly populated this iconic example of domestic mid-century modernism with her signature ceramic vessels, small sculptures of animals, dinnerware and hand-crafted textile designs.  Los Angeles-based Kusaka embraces imperfections and irregularity in her work, and you will see influences from Agnes Martin, Josef Albers and Ellsworth Kelly in some of her newer pieces. Kusaka's pieces will be distributed throughout the shelves, coffee tables and other nooks and crannies of the VDL's interior. Curated by Douglas Fogle and Hanneke Skerath of STUDIO LBV, Los Angeles. 

When: Exhibition runs through April 4, 2020.

Where: Neutra VDL Research House, 2300 Silver Lake Boulevard, Los Angeles 90039

Tickets: General Admission $15; click here for more information.

Proposed makeover of the iconic Crenshaw Wall, including art restoration, wall stabilization, and the installation of aparklet, including signage, shade structures, and landscaping.

4) Destination Crenshaw Groundbreaking

"What we’re doing isn’t just placemaking; it’s placekeeping." That's how Council Marqueece Harris-Sawson explains Destination Crenshaw, the much-anticipated, open air art gallery, raised pathway, overlook and pocket parks lining a 1.3 mile section of the Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line, currently under construction. Destination Crenshaw, intended to honor black culture at the same time as it faces gentrification in the fast-developing South LA, breaks ground Saturday at an event open to all. While the line-up of artists is still under wraps, you can hear the latest on the funding and the design and meet designers from the architectural firm Perkins + Will, landscape architects Studio-MLA and many other participants in this community-led project. See DnA's previous coverage  here.

When: Saturday, Feb 29, 1 - 4 pm (registration opens at 12:30)

Where: Leimert Boulevard between 43rd to 46th (for navigation use 4470 Leimert Blvd)

Tickets: Free; click here for more information.

5) Symposium: LA-ND - the future of land value in LA

Anyone who has seen the movie Chinatown knows the story of how LA is a city of engineered land. Every plot of earth has been moved and shaped, turning fields, slopes and canyons into subdivisions, infrastructure, and popular destinations. Think the LA River, Mulholland’s reservoirs, Hollywood Bowl, Griffith Observatory, UCLA, Bunker Hill, the 101, 405, 5, Dodger Stadium, the Getty, and hillside enclaves from Pacific Palisades to Pasadena. But as the effects of climate change intensify, these engineered lands are at greatest risk of peril. They are literally where real estate economics and climate unpredictability have begun to collide. At the LA-ND symposium Saturday, at UCLA's IDEAS campus, UCLA faculty Jeffrey Inaba, Gillian Shaffer and David Jimenez Iniesta will discuss the history and future of land and urban strategies  with Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer of the City of Los Angeles; Francesca Ammon, Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation at UPenn; and Débora Mesa, Architect and Principal of Ensamble Studio (Madrid and Boston). 

When: Saturday, Feb 29, 3:45 - 7:00 pm

Where: IDEAS Campus - UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, 3691 Lenawee Avenue, Los Angeles 90016

Tickets: Free; click here for more information.