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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

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville
Omoide No Shotokyo (Remembering Old Little Tokyo)

Project Area: Little Tokyo
Project: First Street North Improvement Project
Project Location: First Street (North Side)
Project Type: CRA Initiated


"Remembering Old Tokyo" sidewalk designs celebrate the last intact historic block of the original Little Tokyo, beginning at the old Union Church on San Pedro, running the length of First Avenue, and up to the northern 1000' l property line of the Japanese American National Museum on Central.

A timeline in the sidewalk is divided by decades from 1890 through the 1930s. Brass texts in front of each building entrance define what the building housed in a given decade. For example, a stainless steel text describes acts of discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II in the sixth timeline, the 1940s. Within these planes are also brass quotations from Japanese Americans remembering early neighborhood life on this block of Little Tokyo. Also embedded in the sidewalk are images of the "wrappings" of people’s memories (tsutsumi) designed by artist Sonya Ishii, stemming from the idea that a container is as important as that which it contains.

For other projects, please see:

Detail Image of Sidewalk
Overview Image of Sidewalk

Artist Profile

Born in New York City, artist Sheila Levrant de Bretteville is recognized as the first graphic designer to pioneer a form of public art that engages local communities by weaving site-specific visual and verbal narratives permanently into the fabric of public places.  Sheila Levrant de Bretteville attended Barnard College, Columbia University for her BA in History of Art and then continued her studies at Yale University for her MFA in Graphic Design.  In 1971, as the only woman on the faculty of the School of Design at the California Institute of the Arts, the artist created the Women’s Design Program and co-founded the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles in 1973.  In 1981, she initiated and chaired the Department of Communication Design at the Otis College of Art and Design.  In 1990, Levrant de Bretteville was the first woman appointed full professorship at Yale University of Art where she continues to teach today.