Lauren Halsey unveils the design for a monumental sculpture park in South L.A.

A rendering of Lauren Halsey's monumental sculpture park with sphinxes and columns.
A rendering of Lauren Halsey’s “sister dreamer” project.
(Courtesy of Lauren Halsey and Current Interests)

For 17 years Lauren Halsey has dreamed of creating a monumental work of installation art for — and about — her South Los Angeles neighborhood, and on Monday she released the first renderings for the project, which has grown into a public sculpture park scheduled to open next spring.

Construction has already begun on the project, titled “sister dreamer, lauren halsey’s architectural ode to tha surge n splurge of south central los angeles,” which will rise on a vacant lot whose exact location has not yet been disclosed. Renderings for the temporary park, scheduled to close in fall 2026, reveal a gleaming white courtyard reminiscent of earlier iterations of Halsey’s project at the Hammer Museum in L.A. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Eight sphinxes and eight Hathoric columns will be carved with images that are meaningful to Halsey, including personal heroes, family, friends, community activists and organizers. Surrounding walls and a cube-like central seating area will be constructed with glass-fiber-reinforced concrete panels, and native plants will ring the project.

The park received crucial support from the Mellon Foundation’s Monuments Project and is being presented by the nonprofit arts organization Los Angeles Nomadic Division, which specializes in site-specific public art and programs. LAND co-founder Christine Y. Kim is the project’s curator and co-producer.

A rendering of a sculpture park with columns.
Halsey’s “sister dreamer” project is aiming for completion in spring 2025 and will stay open to the public until fall 2026.
(Courtesy of Lauren Halsey and Current Interests)

Halsey’s nonprofit Summaeverythang Community Center, founded in 2019, will oversee public programming for the site, including film screenings, health and wellness events, jazz concerts, sports, lecture series and youth programs. The site will serve as a staging ground for the center’s activities while architect Barbara Bestor works on building a permanent home for the organization.

The monument park is a “dream project” that Halsey has been “visioning, proofing and prototyping” ever since she studied architecture at El Camino community college in Torrance, Halsey said in the announcement Monday. “I’m beyond thrilled and honored to finally present it to, and in, the community that I’m from, adore and believe in most.”

The new plans are promising, but not fully funded. And a greener, more accessible park can’t solve the bigger urban problems many downtowns face.

April 11, 2024

Halsey’s installation nods to ancient Egypt with its iconography, but a closer look reveals how it’s firmly rooted in the Black culture of South L.A., where her family has lived for generations. An early imagining was part of the Hammer’s 2018 “Made in L.A.” biennial. Former Times art and design columnist Carolina Miranda described that monument, titled “The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture),” as having “a low-rider, palm trees and the patterns of the braids on a young girl’s head — as well as Marcus Garvey, the Pan-African nationalist who was active in the early 20th century, looking regal in a plumed hat in one corner.”

A rendering of the monolithic structure in Lauren Halsey's park.
A rendering of Lauren Halsey’s “sister dreamer” project from a different angle.
(Courtesy of Lauren Halsey and Current Interests)

At that time Halsey mentioned wanting to find a permanent site along Crenshaw Boulevard to accommodate a public monument that would pay tribute to Black life in the neighborhood. An even earlier prototype was shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2015.


Halsey attended the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, or LACES, graduating in 2005 before studying at El Camino. She went on to the California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita and received an MFA from Yale University. She has one solo exhibition closing this month at Gagosian gallery in Paris, and another opening at the London gallery Serpentine this fall.

In the park announcement, Halsey stressed that the “sister dreamer” project is more than a monument. It is “a living expression of the dynamic power of community,” the announcement said, one that “aims to inspire liberation, self-definition, community building and economic autonomy.”

A portrait of Lauren Halsey
Contemporary artist Lauren Halsey.
(Russell Hamilton / LAND)