Travelin’ Local’s Mapping Los Angeles Public Art

Aug 17, 2009 by Lisa Newton

How do you define art?

Wikipedia defines Art as “the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions.”

Art is generally accepted as painting, drawing, music, dance, film, television, drama, writing, poetry, photography–but the list can be considered in a much larger context. Donald Trump wrote about the “Art of the Deal.” An athlete at the pinnacle of his or her talents, is considered to perform in a Zen and artistic like manner. What about Fashion—many consider that art. A designer or graphic professional falls into the artistic category, as is a typographer, an architect, or a chef.

So then we can all hopefully agree that art is a multi-faceted and multi-dimensional endeavor as much as it is a definition.

Which leads to our project and story: Los Angeles has no—nor ever has had–a city wide comprehensive interactive, photographic, and mapped public art database.

First Lutheran Church Venice

Travelin’ Local’s Mapping Los Angeles Art Public Art

“MLAPA” –Travelin’ Local will provide it here and now, including, in as much as known, the index of the when and who provided the accomplishments. For us–Art is statues. Art is architecture. Art is murals. Art is fountains. Art is business. And art is even commercial.

The Arts are for public appreciation and consumption

Nobody has embarked on this journey nor submitted this type of project for completion let alone having it fully documented, catalogued, photographed and mapped. We’ll be using all available resources ranging from the University of Southern California, the Smithsonian, to SPARC or from you, our readers. Our mission is to seek, find, document, and show you Los Angeles’ very important and broad-based public cultural infrastructure of public art.

Whales on Ocean Park Blvd.

Celebrate Travelin’ Local’s Mapping Los Angeles Art Public Art Project

For at least a half dozen reasons:

1. Art is meant to be looked at and enjoyed, but if you don’t know where it is, how can you enjoy it?

2. Although many public art projects have been commissioned throughout the years–including Murals–many have fallen on hard times. For various reasons we won’t go into, many public art displays have disappeared, been reconfigured, disfigured, and so on, but even when you do see a Mural or Public Art project–do you really “see” them? We’ll give you the tools to rediscover its beauty and ubiquity.

3. Art is disappearing. Even as I went out to gather information for this first MLAPA project, I discovered a mural which had previously been on the side of a building, only to discover that the building had been torn down.

4. Public art is unique in that it has to withstand the elements–rain, sun, smog, people, animals, birds, and the test of time all play into its beauty and physicality.

5. Because you asked for it. This idea was provoked and suggested by one of Travelin’ Local’s regular readers (@amirmasud). Immediately I fell in love with the idea as soon as he brought up the concept.

6. Nobody has ever done it—we’ve got to climb that mountain.

Where you can see Travelin’ Local’s Los Angeles Art Project Maps

Incrementally our maps will expand; in the meantime, click on each of the little cameras to glimpse and enjoy our city Art Project because we know that a year’s wait until its completed is too long a time for you not to enjoy its progress:

View Mapping LA Public Art (MLAPA) in a larger map

Follow us for this important and meaningful journey as we traverse and travel the city looking and finding great art. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, or better yet, subscribe to our RSS feed.

And we will keep you up-to-date on all the latest news about the project as well–with over 600 documented public art projects in LA alone, it will take a while to visit all of them, plus all subsequent public art developments and installations around LA–including graffiti, movie, commercially sponsored and architectural public displays of aesthetic work, not to mention the latest of the public art happenings as they occur.

I’m very excited about this project, because it’s another way to highlight all the great things about Travelin’ Local in Los Angeles.

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Art, Culture, MLAPA, SoCal

15 Responses to “Travelin’ Local’s Mapping Los Angeles Public Art”

  1. Travelin’ Local’s Mapping Los Angeles Public Art | film news says:

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  2. Travelin’ Local’s Mapping Los Angeles Public Art | Dance says:

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  3. Travelin' Local's Mapping Los Angeles' Public Art | Travelin' Local « Art Blog says:

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  6. David says:

    Your Public Art project is important on so many levels–from education, to history, to the arts, to Los Angeles, and as an academic endeavor that’s innovative, creative, and serves as the basis for the ability to be published as a catalog of what, where, how, and why Public Art is worthy of being fully documented.

    Travelin’ Local should expand this initiative on a regional, national, and international basis–when you’re commissioned.



    LisaNewton Reply:

    @David, Thanks, David. I really want people to be able to use the maps to find great art. Plus, what better way to feature the artists work than to have people being able to enjoy it.


  7. Kevin says:

    What a great project. I can’t imagine how much energy and time this will take, good for you.

    Gongrats on the LA Times piece as well. I think you are an inspiration for all of us.
    Kevin´s last blog ..Cabbage Island and Tumbo Island My ComLuv Profile


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Kevin, Thank you for your kind words, Kevin. Your photography has always been a learning experience for me. I’m really looking forward to experiencing all the art LA has to offer.


  8. Debi says:

    What a cool idea! I’m up in north in the Bay Area, but I very much enjoy your blog. A comment that was left for me today (I write a column at made me think of you. It seems there’s a downtown LA architectural tour happening on 8/30… see comment here…

    Anyhoo, thought I should maybe pass it along. Thanks for caring about the things you care about… and keep up the great blogging!


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Debi, Thanks, Debi, and thanks for the great link. I really enjoy walking in LA, and there’s always great ideas for places to go. The architecture in downtown is fantastic.


  9. A Santa Monica Walking Tour | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] Walking Tour Map, for more details, photos, and ideas for your next visit. Be sure to check out Travelin’ Local’s Mapping LA Public Art project, it’s being updated as we speak, incuding some of the additional sites from this walk. [...]

  10. Vanessa says:

    Lisa, This is a great idea. I will be following your progress!
    Vanessa´s last blog ..Inglewood History of Transportation Mural My ComLuv Profile


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Vanessa, Thanks for the encouragement, Vanessa. :)


  11. FRIDAY FEED – Happy Linky Day! – Hidden Los Angeles says:

    [...] Midnight Breakfast debuts tonight – Caroline on Crack » The Map LA Art Project – Travelin’ Local » In honor of the Santa Monica Pier turning 100 years old, The Fig at Fairmont is serving a [...]

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