Northeast Los Angeles Placemaking Competition: Arroyo Seco Artcupuncture


Project submitted by: Alicia Gomez Jimenez

This project is for the entire NELA area

Project Summary and Scale

My project, Arroyo Seco Artcupuncture, aims to create an art network by the Arroyo Seco and the LA River that will foster the cultural and artistic legacy of the area, as well as, promote new urban trends that reconnect and coexist with the landscape which is absent right now.

Why are you committed to this project?

I first clicked with the area through a site visit with my studio course at Harvard Graduate School of Design. I chose this site for the communities´ potential to contribute to the area´s revival. This project comes after a 6 months work that I hope to continue in the future.

What are the most relevant characteristics of project site and scale?

In terms of its past, this area is an important historic site for Los Angeles with many art movements emerging over time. The best examples are the Arts and Crafts, the Chicano Latino art, and lately some urban manifestations such as graffiti art during 2007 meeting of Styles Los Angeles or live performances in 2009. This project covers the area that goes from the Heritage Square/Arroyo Station to the Arroyo Seco Confluence.

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Describe how this project will reinforce a sense of place or enhance the built environment.

The proposal aims to create a longitudinal axe along the Arroyo Seco that acts as a cultural-art haven where the 4 communities of Cypress Park, Mount Washington, Highland Park, and Lincoln Heights gather. The river will then become the new urban arts scene for the Northeast LA, tackling some current challenges such as pedestrian and bike access to the area, safety measures and gentrification control, through a civic restoration that will engage the community in the process.

Provide a description of the project's necessary planning activities.

This project is conceived as a long term intervention composed by several phases. The first will consist in the identification and connection of the existing art nodes in the communities such as Avenue 50 Studio (Chicano art), Studio 34 (filming), and Lacy St. Studios through an acupuncture strategy. Secondly, new art nodes will be established along the river though mural paintings, live performances and lightning projects. Lastly, a promenade along Arroyo Seco will connect these art installations and the four neighborhoods. In the long run, the art spine could be an activator for future urban development with balanced uses.


What is a rough estimate of your project budget?

Given the fact that this project is composed of multiple phases, the implementation of them will depend on funding availability at each moment. The first phase requires only the communication between the current institutions. For an initial deployment of the art projects along the creek, a budget of $30,000 is estimated.

How does this project leverage existing resources and efforts?

The site hosts a dense web of freeways and infrastructure. While sometimes this can be a handicap, my aim is to incorporate these elements and make them a key aspect of the design. They will support and host new uses and activities reconfiguring the space that is generated under or upon them. Their main 3 aspects to extol are: 1) Infrastructure -river concrete channel- as a surface for the art: projections, murals, and graffitis. 2) Highways and its structure as generator of space underneath: open-air art galleria and lightning art. 3) The light that percolates through these structures as a means to identify the access points to the site and provide safety pathways at night.

Additionally, the project would leverage and enhance the cultural and artistic expressions related with the Chicano art and other movements already present in the area.


What community need is your project serving?

The Arroyo Seco Artcupuncture initiative aims to connect the 4 neighborhoods around the site, empowering the existing art community. On a broader scale, this local intervention could become a part of the already present art industry in LA with visitors from the city and abroad.

If your project is realized, what does success look like?

These art civic project tries to reinforce the idea of the revitalization of the river as an art itself, like sculpture, as a way to shape water and nature in collaboration with art, urban development and civic engagement. The river will become a commuting art amenity that will connect through pedestrian, bike and public transportation paths the two sides of the Northeast neighborhoods and with LA.

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