A new outdoor museum celebrating the people and culture of South Los Angeles, to be built along the upcoming Crenshaw/LAX Line between 48th and 60th streets, received additional funding Thursday from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Destination Crenshaw, a nonprofit organization, aims to create a 1.3-mile outdoor museum that highlights the arts, significant contributions and people of South Los Angeles. Part of the project is to be split into three sectors at Sankofa Park, IAM Park and Slauson Avenue Park that are within the Metro right-of-way.
For the project, $15 million was approved by the board Thursday, which is slated to fund a big portion of the Sankofa section.
Destination Crenshaw estimates the cost of exhibition design, artist commissions and construction for the project elements on the three Metro-owned properties is about $28.2 million, but the entire project that includes other areas could cost more, Metro officials said.
The nonprofit is finalizing architectural and engineering work and estimates the first phase of construction will begin this fall.
Destination Crenshaw has secured $10 million from state and about $5 million from the city of Los Angeles for the project, according to Metro.
Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the district where the project is located, spoke in front of the board to echo his support for it, and he said he wants the project to be “an asset that increases the vitality of the existing community and doesn’t require a new community come in to create economic vitality.”
Dozens of people in Navy blue T-shirts with “Destination Crenshaw” written on the front came to support the funding request at Thursday’s meeting.
“Many of us had to make sure that, as investment is made, that it does not make a new history, that this place is the old history; that’s why the Sankofa area is so meaningful,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is a vice chair on the Metro board.
According to Metro documents, the exhibition design and storytelling will cover 18 distinct stories and more than 100 commissions of African American artists will be integrated into the project.
The museum is slated to be completed by spring 2020, according to plans from Destination Crenshaw.
Destination Crenshaw has been working with Metro since 2017 on the project, which will allow the nonprofit to plant and maintain Metro-funded trees and conduct landscaping within the area.
County Supervisor Sebastian Ridley-Thomas said this project is an opportunity to increase ridership in South Los Angeles and that it prioritizes the local community first while uplifting it economically. The looming threat of gentrification caused early reactions from local leaders who said they want to ensure that doesn’t happen and that the local community is preserved.
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