Destination Crenshaw President and COO Jason W. Foster recently announced that Sankofa Park, the first major component of this $100 million public-private initiative, will open with a public celebration in early fall 2023.
The largest of the gathering places in the project, Sankofa Park, designed by world-famous architects Perkins&Will, will feature permanent, site-specific installations of sculptures by Charles Dickson, Maren Hassinger, Artis Lane, and Kehinde Wiley. The traditional African symbol of the Sankofa bird, which flies toward the future while curving its neck around to view the past, is reflected in the striking architecture of Sankofa Park.
The completion of Sankofa Park, which will sit at the northernmost end of the Destination Crenshaw route, near Leimert Park, is made possible by funding from a variety of sources, including the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Federal Community Project Funding, The Getty Foundation, which financed the acquisition and installation of the permanent art, and $2.4 million from Destination Crenshaw’s Sankofa Circle support group, led by Issa Rae and DeMar DeRozan.
A comprehensive project to stamp a permanent cultural identity on a major artery of Black L.A., Destination Crenshaw is redesigning 1.3 miles of Crenshaw Boulevard as an economically thriving Black business and cultural corridor. Flanking the new Crenshaw/LA Metro Line, the corridor is being transformed through a comprehensive, Afrocentric streetscape design by Perkins&Will, new green community gathering places with landscape design by Studio-MLA, cutting-edge augmented reality storytelling by Gallagher & Associates, and the largest commissioning project ever undertaken for Black artists.
“Since we broke ground in February 2020, Destination Crenshaw has continued to grow in scope and ambition,” Foster said. “Responding to our community, we have been supporting Black-owned businesses and hiring local workers, resisting the erasure of Black culture, and designing a vibrant, green urban corridor that, when completed, will be bursting with storytelling and magnificent public artworks.
“We are doing all this in celebration of the history, heritage, and creativity of Black L.A., so I’m thrilled to announce that the jewel in the crown of this project will soon be done. We look forward to welcoming the world to Destination Crenshaw in fall 2023 and to its beautiful new gathering place at Sankofa Park.”
L.A. Cit, sports, business and political visions into one, so we make a difference in the community that is responsible for our successes.” y Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the visionary behind the project, said, “This community-initiated, community-driven project is moving forward. Like the Sankofa bird the park is named after, we look back in gratitude toward all the neighborhood residents, artists and designers, curators and thinkers, and the public officials and private funders who have done so much to get us to this point. And like the Sankofa bird, we are flying ahead at full speed toward the inauguration of the first major component of Destination Crenshaw.”
Mayor Karen Bass said, “Destination Crenshaw, under the leadership of Councilmember Harris-Dawson and members of the South Los Angeles community, is bringing much needed cultural tourism and economic development to Crenshaw Boulevard. Last July, as a member of Congress and supporter of funding for this crucial project, I was proud to tour Crenshaw Boulevard with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and show him how Los Angeles was re-investing in communities that had suffered historical neglect and disinvestment.
“As Mayor of L.A., I am even prouder to see Sankofa Park open. This exceptional initiative, I believe, will be a model for other communities throughout the United States.”
Designed to serve as a location for community gatherings and public events, Sankofa Park features a viewing platform that provides spectacular vistas overlooking Crenshaw Boulevard and the surrounding area, as well as landscaping, storytelling installations, and the commissioned sculptures. It is destined to be a space for community celebrations, protests, and demonstrations of grief and peaceful healing.
“This project, which is for us and by us, illustrates how Black Angelenos are investing in our own neighborhoods, supporting Black businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Issa Rae. “We’re simultaneously honoring the cradle of Black arts and entertainment — which has historically been in the heart of South L.A.”
DeMar DeRozan, agreed. “This is about doing everything we can – doing everything I can – to unite our arts