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  • CRA/LA’S commitment to public art began over 40 years ago.
  • Over 200 art projects in 21 redevelopment project areas have been completed to date.
  • California Plaza developers met their art requirement by building a $23 million facility for the Museum of Contemporary Art.

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 \\Commonspot\internet-site\images\bullet1 Art Projects

Barbara McCarren

Project Area:  CT-Historic Core
Project:  Pershing Square Park Renovation
Project Location:  Between Hill & Olive and 5th & 6th Streets
Project Type:  CRA/LA Initiated


According to the artist: "the art program for Pershing Square is based on seeing the park as an emerald cut oasis, multifaceted like the City of Los Angeles itself.  Reflections of the City include a material interruption in the paving pattern in the form of a conceptual 'fault line', referencing not only the region’s phenomenal seismic activity but also dramatic events sited in Pershing Square in John Fante’s seminal novel set in Los Angeles, Ask the Dust (1939).  Terrazzo versions of constellations visible in Southern California's night skies reflect not only the stars in Hollywood's 'Walk of Fame' but also LA movie star-gazing.  This concept is continued in the three telescopes with views of three eras 1888, 1943 and the present.  There is a small orange grove planted in recognition of the historically significant Wolfskill grove planted nearby in 1841.  Wolfskill’s oranges were the first to be commercially exported from Los Angeles, and, by 1857, Wolfskill’s grove became the largest in the United States.  A quote describing Pershing Square as a microcosm of Los Angeles by writer Carey McWilliams is incised on the bench back near the fountain. Porcelain postcards from the past welcome today's visitors on a bench near 5th & Hills Streets, adjacent to the Metro Red Line Station." 

Also available for public viewing are historic monuments and artifacts that were re-sited near one another to provide a glimpse of the types of public artworks that were once situated throughout Pershing Square.

overview of Hey Day
fault line
Heyday bench detail

Artist Profile

Installation artist Barbara McCarren creates site-specific works, often temporary, that are witty, thoughtful, and accessible.  She uses her pieces to provide new insights to commonplace objects.  McCarren received her BA in Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles and her MFA from the University of Southern California in 1986.  She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Visual Artists Fellowship in 1988.  The artist received an award for Design Excellence for the Santa Monica Boulevard Transit Parkway Project from the City of Los Angeles in 2003.  Her major public art commissions include Pershing Square Park, Los Angeles; Cesar E. Chavez Park, Long Beach; San Francisco Zoo; Santa Monica Boulevard Streetscape, California; Alhambra Gateway Walk, California; and the Long Beach Shoreline Gateway, California.  The artist currently teaches at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.