A View from Los Angeles City Hall

The Los Angeles River School Youth Voices students visited L.A. City Hall to learn more about where and how they could continue to pursue their community causes. The goal of the trip was to explore how they could extend their conversation about revitalizing vacant lots, the Los Angeles River, San Fernando Road, and the Riverside Figueroa Bridge to the pertinent City Departments and the City Council. Where are the points of entry for residents like themselves who are working to make their neighborhoods better? Their journey took them through different areas of City Hall, where they had an opportunity to see some of the inner workings of local government and catch a glimpse of a part of the city that most Angelenos rarely see.

The bus dropped off the students on First Street between Main Street and Spring Street, allowing the students to walk around the newly landscaped City Hall Park Center and enter through the Main Street entrance. After going through security on the first floor, the students headed up the stairs to the East Lobby on the third floor where the tour was scheduled to begin. The third floor of City Hall is home to the Mayor's Office, the City Council Chambers, and beautiful architectural designs throughout. This was the main floor the students explored and the one that, with the assistance of their tour guide, provided most of the answers to their questions regarding community engagement. A surprise came near the end of the tour when the students were whisked up to the 26th floor to see the city in a very new way.

Students stand outside the visitors entrance on Main Street

The students met their tour guide Mark, who pointed out the murals on the ceiling and other artistic elements

The vaulted ceilings in the East Lobby incorporate a large zodiac themed medallion painted by Antony Heinsbergen. The inscription reads,<em>The masters of education hold in their hands the future of the world</em>.There are also four pendentives surrounding the mural that illustrate earth, wind, water, and fire -- fire and water are visible in the picture

As the students were guided towards the Mayor's office, they passed the reception desk framed by a colorful tiled wall and one of the many elaborate windows

Students visited and learned about the Press Room near the Mayors' Office, where in addition to press conferences the Mayor and other public officials hold both public and private meetings

The East Lobby holds gifts given by Sister Cities, including a <em>Karakuri Ningyo</em>, or Dancing Puppets Float, given by Nagoya, Japan and busts of Mexican President Benito Juarez and his wife Margartia Maza from Mexico City, as well as historical artifacts of the the city

The colors of the flag of Los Angeles represent olive trees (green), orange groves (gold), and vineyards (red)

Third floor elevator lobby

The ceiling above the elevators is is lined off in geometrical panels of gold and blue, and its principal feature is the central panel, decorated with mythological figures symbolic of the courage, perseverance, progressiveness and energy of the people of Los Angeles

The other ceiling panels are decorated with subjects representing Motion Pictures, Industry, commerce, agriculture and art.

The tour stopped at the Rotunda near the Spring Street entrance. It contains 4,156 inlaid pieces of marble representing 46 varieties. The John Ferraro Council Chambers are located down the hall seen in the back. Unfortunately the room was not available to enter because the Council was not in session on the day of the students' visit

Above the marble floor the rotunda's ceiling contains eight figures representing Art, Public Service, Government, Protection, Trust, Education, Health, and Law. The 17 ft bronze chandelier is surrounded by silhouetted figures of people important to California history

 The Mayor Tom Bradley Room on the 26th floor features a bust of the five-term mayor that welcomes visitors as they head up to the observation deck one floor above

Students step onto the observation deck

Two students take in the Northeast view

Olvera Street/La Placita and Union Station are visible in the foreground

A group of students look out towards Grand Park and the Music Center. The Hollywood sign is visible in the top right through the mid-day haze

A student stands next to an old city guide that contrasts sharply with the current view of Los Angeles

The Los Angeles River School on the steps of City Hall

Photos by Alvaro Parra and Rubi Fregoso. Information and details regarding City Hall provided by the City Hall Tours Information Manual

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