Join us for an afternoon of compelling discussions by four leaders in the ongoing revitalization of the Los Angeles River. The afternoon is started off by a poetry reading and introduction by esteemed poet, cofounder of FoLAR (Friends of the LA River), and Senior Lecturer in Otis MFA Writing, Lewis MacAdams, followed by discussions with Clockshop’s Julia Meltzer, California State Parks Los Angeles sector’s Superintendent Sean Woods, and landscape architect Esther Margulies. Inspired by and in conjunction with the current exhibition Food – Water – Life / Lucy + Jorge Orta, this event is organized by MA candidates in Art and Curatorial Studies in the Public Sphere at the Roski School of Art and Design at USC.
Lewis MacAdams is a cofounder of Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) established in 1985. FoLAR has been characterized by MacAdams as a "40 year art work" to bring the Los Angeles River back to life. Among FoLAR’s many projects are an annual river clean-up, the "Gran Limpieza," and an on-going series of conferences and planning workshops dealing with every aspect of the river. Two of its current major goals are to create a Los Angeles River Conservancy to oversee restoration of the river, and a River Watch program to improve the River’s water quality and target polluters. MacAdams is the author of ten books of poetry, including The River (2005) and Birth of the Cool (2001), a contributing editor to the L.A. Weekly, and writer on culture and ecology for Rolling Stone and Los Angeles Magazine. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Otis Graduate Writing Program.
Julia Meltzer, noted filmmaker and Director of the nonprofit arts and culture organization Clockshop, will offer insight on the recent projects that are transforming the state parks along the LA River into public and interactive spaces for community gathering and enrichment. The "First-Ever LA River Campout" brought participants to the banks of the LA River for a day of exploration, camping, and stargazing and to repurpose a postindustrial lot into a space for art, culture and community. Julia will also share information about Clockshop’s partnership with California State Parks and their future commitment to creative community action on the river.
Sean Woods, Superintendent of California State Parks, Los Angeles Sector for the past 13 years, oversees the California State Parks Urban Strategic Initiative in Los Angeles. Superintendent Woods has enlivened the Rio de Los Angeles State Parks, Los Angeles State Historic Park, and the Baldwin Hills
Scenic Overlook by facilitating the work of local artists who have transformed the previously desolate areas into active space for the surrounding underserved communities. His work and commitment to the artistic and cultural enrichment of the areas through a partnership with Clockshop has been integral to the reclamation and beautification efforts on the Los Angeles River.
Esther Margulies, professor of Landscape Architecture at USC, was recently appointed by Mayor Garcetti as the West Los Angeles Planning Commissioner. Together with her firm and graduate students at USC she formulated The LA River Public Art Project. This project aims to reclaim the Los Angeles River as a cultural center, including both temporary and permanent art installations on various sites along the LA River including bridges, overpasses, access points, frontage roads, and empty lots.
Image: Building: A Simulcarum of Power, 2014. Performance by Rafa Esparza with Rebeca Hernandez on the site of Michael Parker’s The Unfinished, at The Bowtie Project. Photo courtesy of Clockshop.