Destination Crenshaw, which organizers describe as the “biggest commissioned project ever for black artists,” is growing. Reflecting and celebrating black Los Angeles, the $100 million, 1.3-mile public art corridor on Crenshaw Boulevard has added four art commissions to its roster.
The project – permanent outdoor sculptures and murals and 4 acres of new green space – now includes new work by sculptor Gerard Basil Stripling, as well as muralists Patrick Henry Johnson, Anthony “Toons One” Martin and Kisasi Ramsess.
“I am so grateful that we can continue to live our project,” said Jason W. Foster, Destination Crenshaw’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “The program is evolving and we’re just really, really lucky to be where we are.”
At the same time, the ambitious public art project, designed by architecture firm Perkins&Will with landscaping by Studio-MLA, is moving forward with its grand opening. It was scheduled to officially open its first public space, Sankofa Park on Crenshaw and Leimert Boulevards, this fall. The park, which is now more than 60% complete, is scheduled to be completed by then, but there will be a soft “community opening” in the fall, with the grand opening taking place in late February. This opening will take place in conjunction with four other pocket parks and the premiere of art installations.
Destination Crenshaw has pushed ahead with the park’s official opening to unveil the five new public spaces together, celebrating a true “destination,” says Foster.
“One of the key ingredients of Destination Crenshaw, in its name, comes from [the late rapper and Destination Crenshaw “original brand ambassador”] Nipsey Hussle says we want that to be a goal for us,” says Foster. “To sort of live that out, we really think it’s our duty to really do that for the community before we open it up broadly to everyone else.”
Destination Crenshaw also announced the creation of a collections care program to preserve the collections, which will have grown to over 100 public works of art along the Corridor by the end of 2027. Ariana Makau, Founder and Principal Conservator of Oakland Nzilani Glass Conservation is acting as interim director for collection care. She will assess and respond to the conservation needs of Destination Crenshaw’s artworks, recruit and develop a collections maintenance technical training program for local talent, and assist in the recruitment of a permanent Collections Maintenance Director.
“It’s not just about creating art, it’s also about nurturing it,” says Foster. “Ariana Makau, actually a former Getty Marrow intern, is helping us as a black conservationist to develop a program focused on creating a human resource development pipeline from traditional maintenance through to [collections care]. So that will go hand in hand with the maintenance that we are doing on the corridor and hopefully will help encourage people to pursue careers in the arts industry.”
Fundraising for Destination Crenshaw, a public-private initiative, is now $86 million, up $14 million from last February. Funding came from a mix of public and private support, including $3.4 million from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Project Funding Grant program.
Sculptural installations by Kehinde Wiley, Charles Dickson, Maren Hassinger and Artis Lane that will fill Sankofa Park are currently “deep in the making” and installation planning is underway. Works by Alison Saar, Melvin Edwards and Brenna Youngblood, which will be featured at other Pocket Parks, are also in progress and are “currently moving onto the installation.”
In addition to the five parks making their debut at the end of February, Target Crenshaw includes four additional pocket parks that will make their debut “in a future phase of the project”. Number of parks to nine. Sankofa Park is more than 43,000 square meters. is the largest public green space. The pocket parks are each about 2,500 to 4,000 square meters.
The project also includes redesigned walkways within the corridor – “streetscapes”. Ivorystone from Africa and the motif of the root system of the North African star grass.
“The migration of this star-grass came into this country as bedding for slave ships; but they are in all 50 states,” says Foster. “And that story is the unifying narrative for the project. We brought rocks from Africa that we’re putting in the concrete along the sidewalks and actually showing black migration patterns.”
Foster is “extremely excited” about the new art commissions.
Stripling’s 37-foot-long, 6-foot-tall steel text sculpture—the word CRENSHAW with symbols that Foster describes “expanding the palette of black design”—will stand on a median on Crenshaw Boulevard across from Sankofa Park. Multicolored LED lights illuminate it at night.
The Crenshaw target is along the new K line (formerly called the Crenshaw/LAX line). Stripling’s play, Foster says, “will be what people see where the train pulls up from the Crenshaw tube.” just south of Vernon. It’s a wonderful way to announce your arrival in Crenshaw.”
Martin’s colorful Hey Young World mural combines photorealistic imagery and stitched graffiti text.
The five Ramsess ceramic mosaic murals will depict local black icons, including Tom Bradley, Serena Williams, Charles Mingus and Dorothy Dandridge in contrast to major landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory and Watts Towers.
Johnson’s mural will be a 75-foot tribute to black architect Paul Revere Williams, who designed the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, among other LA landmarks.
“These are three muralists who are well known in the Los Angeles community,” says Foster. “And we look forward to moving forward with their murals as they have been in discussions with our organization for years.”
The locations for the three murals have been chosen, however Destination Crenshaw has not yet been able to announce locations as details are still being worked out.
Destination Crenshaw will feature more than 50 mural projects by local artists. One is a recreation of the historic 800-foot Our Mighty Contribution on the area’s Crenshaw Wall, depicting influential African Americans. The RTN crew that painted the latest version of the mural are going to reinvent it.
“We care deeply about how we create,” says Foster of Destination Crenshaw. “I look forward to celebrating Juneteenth with people and continuing to inspire them about our art and what it means, about the commissions that are coming out and previewing future art commissions for those people because it’s really about bringing the To change focus towards the future.” for the Borough of Crenshaw – and to create real hope through that art.”