Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

Investigation: Brainstorming an Ideal Community Space at the Bowtie Parcel

Support Provided By

Students from the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts are re-imagining the Bowtie Parcel along the Los Angeles River as part of a project entitled, the L.A. River Design Project. Youth Voices is highlighting the student's work and creative process as it connects to our civic engagement and digital media curriculum.

Imagine this: a class of inquisitive and creative third graders given the task to reimagine the possibilities of a 19-acre post-industrial lot located right across the train tracks from their own school's backyard.

The Bowtie Parcel, so named because it resembles a bowtie from an aerial view, is owned by California State Parks and located along the L.A. River in Glassell Park, behind the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts. As part of what they call the L.A. River Design Project, their students are tasked with designing a beautification and public use plan for the space.

Following a field trip to the Bowtie Parcel, where they learned about the L.A. River's ecosystem, students from Mr. Fidel Velasco's third grade class, together with Ms. Evelyn Serrano, the school's Arts Integration Coordinator, navigated through the complex topic of inclusivity. They brainstormed how their ideas and designs could be inclusive of plants, animals, and people. This process opened the door to many discussions around access and use of the river, but most importantly how it can be better integrated with the community.

Ms. Evelyn Serrano, Arts Integration Coordinator | Photo by: Luis Sierra Campos
Ms. Evelyn Serrano, Arts Integration Coordinator | Photo by: Luis Sierra Campos 
Brain Storming Chart, Photo By: Evelyn Serrano
Brain Storming Chart, Photo By: Evelyn Serrano

After the brainstorming, the students selected and sketched the ideas that best represent an ideal and inclusive space for the Bowtie Parcel along the River.

In the next phases of the design project, the students will design project proposal posters to present to their classmates and community members. They will assess the feedback they receive and build prototypes of their final ideas to share with a panel comprised of city officials. The students will continue to follow the development of the parcel to see how their ideas and insight inspire the ultimate planning of the area.

Below are the initial sketches derived from the brainstorming of the proposed student design projects:

Team "When the Lights Go Out" proposed a sculpture garden with solar panels:


Team "Green Egrets" proposed a kid friendly slide bridge:


Team "Green" proposed a native garden habitat:


Team "Cow Girls" proposed a path along the river for horseback riding:


Team "Home For All" proposed the establishment of a nature preserve:


Team "Green Leaf" proposed a learning center and outdoor movie venue:


Support Provided By
Read More
a fire truck with smoke in the background

California Tribes Support Each Other and Seek Inclusion in State Wildfire Response

State agencies' lack of familiarity with Native lands has often led to interference with tribal evacuation efforts and unnecessary destruction of culturally sensitive habitat. To address the significant gaps between tribal needs and available assistance, even the smallest tribes do whatever it takes to care for their members and support other tribes.
a man rides his bike across an intersection and the air in hazy

The Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke Hit Vulnerable People Harder

Wildfire smoke can travel hundreds, even thousands, of miles downwind, exacerbating health conditions and impacting marginalized communities most.
 Sign reading "Imperial Beach" with sunset in the background.

A Small-Town Mayor Sued the Oil Industry. Then Exxon Went After Him.

The mayor of Imperial Beach, California, says big oil wants him to drop the lawsuit demanding the industry pay for the climate crisis.