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Explore the past, present and future of downtown L.A.’s Grand Avenue

Artists, architects and critics discuss the past, present and future of Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

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Walk the length of Grand Avenue from Temple to 5th Street, and you’ll encounter one of the most vital arts hubs in the city. You might be tempted by the collections at MOCA and the Broad or the multiple music offerings at the Colburn School and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Perhaps the opportunity to experience acclaimed architecture is a draw. Or theater. Or dance.

Let us take you on a tour of the area’s history and development — and the potential of art to change your life. Your cultural immersion starts here.

Travis Geske / For The Times
(Travis Geske / For the Times)

City of angels, city of culture

Los Angeles Times executive editor Norman Pearlstine shares his impressions of the Grand Avenue project in downtown Los Angeles.

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Unknown Photographer
(Unknown Photographer)

Timeline: How Bunker Hill transformed Los Angeles and Grand Avenue

Bunker Hill once bloomed with mansions and services for the wealthy, but declined as Angelenos found other places to live — only to be eventually rebuilt with a large concentration of arts institutions on Grand Avenue.

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA SEPTEMBER 30, 2013-Cellist Yo Yo Ma performs at the Los Angeles Philharmonic opening night gala, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall Monday night. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

How Grand Avenue elevated L.A.'s music scene

Over the last half-century Grand Avenue has become Los Angeles' music mecca, first with the Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Concert Hall, then Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall and now with the new halls Gehry is designing for the Colburn School

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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - SEP. 28, 2018. Artwork by Refik Anadol is projected on the exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall during the kickoff of the L.A. Phil's centennial on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2018. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

One work of architecture has transformed a neighborhood and the city beyond

How Disney Hall changed everything it touched: the orchestra, the audience, the music — and Los Angeles itself.

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LOS ANGELES, CA--APRIL 26, 2019--Entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad is photographed in front of Cy Twombly's "Untitled (Munich/Rome)," 1972, part of Broad's vast art collection, at his Los Angeles, CA, home, April 26, 2019. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Eli Broad: The man who transformed Grand Avenue

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad looks back at the arts institutions he’s had a hand in creating, including MOCA, Disney Hall and the Broad museum.

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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - APRIL 23: People walk through the gallery, in view of Keith Hering's "Red Room," on the left, and "Untitled," on the right, and John Ahearn's "Raymond and Toby," in the center, photographed on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Must-see — and little-known — art highlights along Grand Avenue

There are plenty of walkable art hubs in Los Angeles, and the densest among them might be on Grand Avenue, where the Broad museum, MOCA, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion are clustered together.

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(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Four blocks along Grand Avenue offer a sketch of shifting ideas in public art

From the Music Center on Bunker Hill to the Central Library at West 5th Street, Grand Avenue runs just over half a mile. But those four city blocks contain an enticing thumbnail sketch of shifting ideas in mostly 20th century public art.

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Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Young Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) during the LA Philharmonic 100th anniversary concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday, September 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Patrick T. Fallon/ For The Los Angeles Times)
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

Grand Avenue is on a mission to delight, enrich and educate

Not content to be a cloistered community on a hill, the arts organizations along Grand Avenue have made it their mission to reach out via a series of educational programs and free or low-cost events.

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LOS ANGELES, CA -- JULY 25, 2014--The neon sign of Wexler's Deli, fits right in, inside Grand Central Market, in downtown L.A., July 25, 2014. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Ten great places to eat and drink near Grand Avenue

You’ll find a vast array of restaurant options, from Japanese omakase breakfast to plates of Indonesian curry to a highball bar. Because there’s nothing like a bowl of satsuki rice porridge with Santa Barbara uni after an afternoon spent with Chris Burden and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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Bunker Hill once was a neighborhood. Then progress came to town

As construction begins on Frank Gehry’s Grand Avenue project, there is renewed chatter about “revitalization,” a word which has meant progress for some, erasure for others.

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Artist Rendering / CORE
(Artist Rendering / CORE)

Can big names and big money make the Grand a great civic place?

According to current plans, the $1-billion-plus development, designed by Frank Gehry and developed by Related Cos., will, by 2021, contain a residential tower, a hotel, 27,000 square feet of shopping and dining and a public plaza that spills onto Grand Avenue.

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LOS ANGELES, CA--MAY 03, 2019--Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry is photographed at his offices in Los Angeles, CA, May 03, 2019. Gehry has designed the Grand Avenue Project, situated across the street from Walt Disney Concert Hall, another Gehry design, that is scheduled to be completed in 2021. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Imagining a street that is a destination for everyone

What role in the community should Grand Avenue play in the future? Frank Gehry, Klaus Biesenbach, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Christopher Hawthorne and others have some answers.

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