Thehighly-anticipated cultural hub unites over 2,000 community residents, business owners, artists, and reaches 100% of construction funds secured

LOS ANGELES February 29, 2020, over two thousand community membersgathered in celebration of Destination Crenshaw’s official groundbreaking ceremony and the announcement of the project reaching 100% of construction funds secured to begin construction work, enlist local hires and continue the momentum to launch the next phase of the project.


Joined by local politicians, community members and leaders, celebrities and influencers on Crenshaw Blvd at the future site of Sankofa Park, residents were presented with unreleased renderings of the 1.3-mile open-air museum. Speakers and community leaders drew on Destination Crenshaw’s unifying design elements celebrating Black Los Angeles’ rich historical roots and influences on American culture.


Los Angeles Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who has spearheaded the project since its inception, announced that the project has raised over 50% of the total budget, enough to initiate a massive effort to hire and train local residents and complete construction.  The second phase begins to raise funds for art, exhibitions and digital stories. Destination Crenshaw’s advisory council has stated it will launch unprecedented efforts to successfully employ local workers who are underrepresented minorities in trades. 


“As we execute our vision and begin hiring local construction workers to break ground on Destination Crenshaw, this is a huge moment for so many of us here in South Los Angeles,” said LA City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. ” Many communities throughout the country are facing similar challenges of displacement and cultural erasure. After years of community meetings, all of our hard work and engagement has led to this pivotal juncture where we are able to celebrate our commitment to unapologetically preserving and uplifting Black Los Angeles.” 


Destination Crenshaw is also strengthening the viability of small businesses in South Los Angeles by providing grants for infrastructural improvements, restoring approximately 160 parking spaces, and creating culturally stamped sidewalks. The initiatives are aimed at allowing Black-owned legacy businesses to sustain restaurants and shops that serve gentrifying residents, while also continuing to serve as the vanguard of the city’s culture. 


Native Angeleno and Emmy-nominated actress Issa Rae, who participated in the ceremony and delivered a presentation on the unifying narrative of the innovative anti-gentrification project shared her pride in the momentous occasion for Los Angeles, “This project is so incredibly special to me – as a local resident, entrepreneur and a creative because it’s a celebration of the monumental impact our culture has had on all aspects of art,” said Issa Rae, Emmy-nominated actress, and star of HBO’s Insecure. “From film to music to visual arts — Black Angelenos have been the epicenter of creativity and expression, and this project will honor and highlight that.”


Conceived as a counter-balancing force against gentrification in Los Angeles and the displacement of one of the largest Black communities west of the Mississippi River, Destination Crenshaw will serve as a place-making and place-keeping initiative that is rooted in community.

Garnering early support of public and private partnerships has allowed Destination Crenshaw to achieve its funding goals, begin construction, and rollout key anti-gentrification initiatives. Through education, arts, and culture, Destination Crenshaw will cement itself as a cultural hub facilitating economic security and entrepreneurship for residents. 


“As the state partner of Destination Crenshaw, it is an honor to participate in this historic celebration of Black LA,” said Senator Holly J. Mitchell, State Senator for District 30 and Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.  “Delivering $10 million in state funding for the forward-thinking project was personal, because I represent and fight on behalf of this community every day. It is not a question of how, but when we would reach this funding milestone and begin to initiate this exciting next phase of the project.”


“We all owe a great debt to Black Los Angeles and African American communities across the country for their foundational contributions to culture, industry, and national identity,” said Katie McGrath and J.J. Abrams, co-CEOs of Bad Robot Productions. “Destination Crenshaw will be a unique, living celebration led by the community it represents. We are so proud to support this thrilling project and its leaders, and look forward to partnering with other investors as it comes to life.”


Under the guidance of the leading architecture and design firm Perkins and Will, Studio MLA and in conjunction with key Crenshaw area community leaders, the 1.3 mile long open-air museum will take the form of 10 community gathering spaces organized among four thematic nodes “Improvisation,” “Firsts,” “Dreams” and “Togetherness” and feature over 100 Black public artworks serving as cultural landmarks and cementing Black LA’s role in creating a Black Renaissance.


“Destination Crenshaw is a pre-eminent cultural experience that has been driven by the community itself. Our role as architects is to translate, through design, the very real, very significant voices, contributions and energy of Black LA,” says Zena Howard, Perkins and Will, Lead Architect and Curatorial Lead on Destination Crenshaw.


The project will also repair and restore the ecosystem of the Crenshaw neighborhood by planting nearly a thousand new trees and over 30,000 new square feet of green scaping. Planned pocket parks will allow for events and residential activities to be held in an area that has been historically neglected. 


“Destination Crenshaw is the result of this community’s demands to be given adequate resources to enrich our neighborhoods and fight back against those who seek to push us out of our homes,” said community activist and internationally renowned Gangsta Gardener Ron Finley. “Destination Crenshaw is our message to the world, that we will continue to thrive in the face of adversity just as we have done since our existence in this country.”


“We firmly believe in what Destination Crenshaw represents to the community and support its mission to highlight and preserve the art, culture, and impact of Black Los Angeles for generations to come,” said Corey Crockerham, Chair of the Southwest Carpenters-African American Task Force. “Equally as important to us is the opportunity to help establish a pipeline of South LA residents into union labor, which offers long-term economic stability, access to vital benefits such as health insurance, and it bolsters the ability to contend with the rising cost of housing.” B26I5394_2020022935506191 (2)


The event also featured activities for community members of all ages, including artmaking stations, workshops for aspiring construction professionals, and local favorites served by Black-owned vendors. Photos of today’s events are available HERE.


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About Destination Crenshaw: 

Destination Crenshaw is a 1.3-mile open-air museum celebrating over 240 years of Black activism in Los Angeles, the largest Black community west of the Mississippi River. Through education, arts, and culture, Destination Crenshaw will cement itself as a cultural hub facilitating economic security and entrepreneurship for residents as a method of place-keeping and community building.