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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
Ries Niemi
Literate Fence

Project Area: CBD/Financial Core
Project: Central Library
Project Location: 630 W. Fifth Street
Project Type: CRA Initiated


Adorning the Children's Courtyard is a 90' l decorative metal fence with multilingual texts punched through the metal. The texts all relate to different cultural attitudes and wisdom concerning literacy and the purpose of a library. The intricately cut-out texts and images that make up the fence are best viewed when backlit.
Image of Fence
Detail Image of Fence

Artist Profile

Since the late 1970s, Ries Niemi has been working with metal -- welding, fabricating, machining, forging, and shaping it.  In 1977, Niemi was selected to be on one of the first public art design teams in the country to work on the Creston Nelson Substation for City Light in Seattle.  The artist’s works vary from strictly sculptural pieces to works that are very functional including benches, fences, railings, and gates.  Niemi’s public artworks always incorporate inspiration, often text or images, gathered from the specific site or neighborhood.   In addition to the Literate Fence for the Los Angeles Central Library, Niemi’s work can be found at the Metro Gold Line Del Mar Station in Pasadena and the Alma Almaden neighborhood in San Jose.  The artist lives and works in Edison, Washington where he maintains a large studio and fabricates most of his own work.