Destination Crenshaw announces new artworks, official grand opening pushed to early 2024

A rendering for a mural.
Anthony “Toons One” Martin’s proposed artwork for Destination Crenshaw, “Hey Young World.”
(From the artist and Destination Crenshaw )
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Destination Crenshaw, which organizers have called the “largest commissioning project ever undertaken for Black artists,” is growing. The $100-million, 1.3-mile public art corridor on Crenshaw Boulevard — reflecting and celebrating Black Los Angeles — has added four art commissions to its roster.

The project — permanent, outdoor sculptures and murals as well as 4 acres of new green space— now includes new works by sculptor Gerard Basil Stripling as well as muralists Patrick Henry Johnson, Anthony “Toons One” Martin and Kisasi Ramsess.

“I’m so grateful to be able to continue to live out our project,” says Jason W. Foster, Destination Crenshaw’s president and chief operating officer. “The program continues to develop, and we’re just really, really happy to be where we are.”


Dozens of artists gathered in Crenshaw at the site of “Our Mighty Contribution” mural to celebrate plans to update the artwork as part of the $100-million Destination Crenshaw project, a 1.3-mile monument to Black L.A.

April 30, 2023

At the same time, the ambitious public art project, designed by the architectural design firm Perkins&Will with landscape design by Studio-MLA, is pushing its grand opening. It had planned to officially debut its first public space, Sankofa Park at Crenshaw and Leimert boulevards, this fall. The park, now more than 60% complete, is on track to be finished by then, but it will have a soft “community opening” this fall, with the grand opening taking place in late February. That opening will happen in conjunction with four additional pocket parks and the debut of art installations.

Destination Crenshaw pushed the park’s official opening so as to unveil the five new public spaces together, celebrating a true “destination,” Foster says.

“One of the main components of Destination Crenshaw, in its naming, comes from [the late rapper and Destination Crenshaw “original brand ambassador”] Nipsey Hussle, saying we want this to be a destination for us,” Foster says. “So to kind of live out that, we really think it’s our due diligence to really do that for the community before we open it up broadly to everyone else.”

A mosaic mural panel with the Hollywood sign and a woman standing proudly before it.
A panel from Ramsess’ proposed artwork, five ceramic mosaic murals, for Destination Crenshaw.
(From the artist and Destination Crenshaw)

Destination Crenshaw also announced the creation of a collections care program to maintain what will have grown to more than 100 public art works along the corridor by late 2027. Ariana Makau, founder and principal conservator of Oakland’s Nzilani Glass Conservation, is serving as interim collections care director. She’ll assess and address the conservation needs of Destination Crenshaw artworks, recruit local talent and develop a collections care tech training program for them, as well as help to hire a permanent collections care director.

“It’s not just being able to make the art, it’s taking care of it,” Foster says. “Ariana Makau, who is actually a former Getty Marrow intern, is helping us, as a Black conservationist, develop a program that focuses on creating a workforce development pipeline from the traditional maintenance field to [collections care]. So this is going to work in tandem with the maintenance that we’re doing on the corridor and hopefully growing people into a career in arts services.”


Fundraising for Destination Crenshaw, a public-private initiative, now stands at $86 million, a $14-million jump from this past February. The funds came from a mix of public and private support, including $3.4 million from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department’s Community Project Funding Grant program.

On a crisp late fall day, hundreds of South L.A. community leaders, activists and longtime residents convened on the top level of a parking structure adjoining the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza shopping center.

Jan. 30, 2019

Sculptural installations that will fill Sankofa Park, by Kehinde Wiley, Charles Dickson, Maren Hassinger and Artis Lane, are “deep in fabrication” now, with installation planning underway. Works by Alison Saar, Melvin Edwards and Brenna Youngblood, which will appear in other pocket parks, also are underway and “moving towards installation” right now.

In addition to the five parks debuting in late February, Destination Crenshaw includes four additional pocket parks that will debut “in a future phase of the project,” bringing the number of parks to nine. Sankofa Park, at more than 43,000 square feet, is the largest public green space. The pocket parks are about 2,500 to 4,000 square feet each.

The project also includes redesigned sidewalks within the corridor — “streetscapes” — featuring ivory stone from Africa and the motif of North African Star Grass’ root system.

“The migration of that star grass, it came to this country as the bedding of slave ships; but it’s in all 50 states,” Foster says. “And that story is the unifying narrative for the project. We brought stone from Africa that we’re putting into the concrete along the sidewalks that will actually show the migration patterns of Black people.”

Free-standing metal letters spell out Crenshaw
A rendering of Gerard Basil Stripling’s proposed artwork for Destination Crenshaw.
(From the artist and Destination Crenshaw)

Foster is “beyond excited” about the new art commissions.

Stripling’s 37-foot-long, 6-foot-high steel text sculpture — the word CRENSHAW with symbols that, as Foster describes them, expand “on the palette of Black design” — will stand on a Crenshaw Boulevard median across from Sankofa Park. Multicolored LED lights will illuminate it at night.

Destination Crenshaw runs along the new K Line (formerly called the Crenshaw/LAX Line). Stripling’s piece, Foster says, “is going to be the thing that people see where the train comes up from underground on Crenshaw just south of Vernon. It’s a wonderful way to announce your arrival to Crenshaw.”

Martin’s colorful mural, “Hey Young World,” combines photorealistic imagery and graffiti text collaged together.

Ramsess’ five ceramic mosaic murals will depict local Black icons including Tom Bradley, Serena Williams, Charles Mingus and Dorothy Dandridge set against significant landmarks such as the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory and Watts Towers.

Johnson’s mural will be a 75-foot-long tribute to Black architect Paul Revere Williams, who designed the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, among other L.A. landmarks.

A mural rendering.
Patrick Henry Johnson’s proposed artwork for Destination Crenshaw, a tribute to Black architect Paul Revere Williams.
(From the artist and Destination Crenshaw )

“These are three muralists that are really well known in Los Angeles from the community,” Foster says. “And we’re excited about moving forward with their murals because they’ve been in conversation with our organization for years.”

Sites for the three murals have been selected, but Destination Crenshaw couldn’t yet reveal locations, as details are still being finalized.

Destination Crenshaw will include more than 50 mural projects by local artists. One of them is a redesign of the historic, 800-foot-long “Our Mighty Contribution” on the area’s Crenshaw Wall, depicting influential African Americans. The RTN Crew, which painted the latest version of the mural, will reimagine it.

“We are really intentional about how we create,” Foster says of Destination Crenshaw. “I look forward to celebrating Juneteenth with people and continuing to engage them around our art and what it means, around the commissions as they come out, and previewing future art commissions for those people, because it really is about changing the orientation to the future for the Crenshaw district — and really building some hope through this art.”