The L.A. Waterfront Public Art Program
As the Port of Los Angeles moves forward with one of the most significant community revitalization efforts in its history – development of a vibrant L.A. Waterfront – its public art program is envisioned as integral to these local enhancement and beautification efforts.
The Port of Los Angeles’ Public Art Program is focused on creating an experience, a destination and a “sense of place” at the L.A. Waterfront and in the local Port community, which reflect its history as well as its position as the world’s third largest port complex. By facilitating public art that engages local, regional and internationally known artists – whose works represent a diverse range of cultural and artistic perspectives – the public art created reflects the culture, history, and environmental and unique character of the harbor area. The program aims to instill a sense of pride in the region and entice both residents and visitors alike to come and experience the waterfront gateway of L.A.
The Port’s Public Art Program was established in 2004 as part of the Port’s Master Plan for revitalizing the L.A. Waterfront. The revitalization project – the largest community-serving waterfront redevelopment initiative in the Port’s history – focuses on creating public access to the waterfront, enhancing commercial opportunities, increasing tourism and generating economic development beyond Port-related industrial operations. Within the context of the L.A. Waterfront, the Public Art Program seeks to enhance and integrate public art into the aesthetic landscape and architecture of the waterfront redevelopment. It is focused on creating a public art collection of critically acclaimed work that reflects the Port’s' ongoing efforts to enhance and beautify the area and improve public access to its world-class harbor community.
To provide oversight for the program, as well as ensure public review and input of proposed public art installations, an Arts Selection Panel was established by the Port. The seven-member volunteer panel is comprised of well-established regional artists, arts administrators and dedicated community members who help guide the identification of sites, art direction and artist selection.
Public Art Installations
Over the next two years, the Port has multiple public art installations planned, including artworks for locations at the Wilmington Waterfront Park, the San Pedro Slip, the Downtown Harbor area, the Port Police building and Cabrillo Beach. Since the Port’s Public Art Program began, installations have included:
Ship in a Bottle
Putting a modern twist on an historic seafaring craft, world-renowned artist Mark Dion’s larger-than-life “Ship in a Bottle” art sculpture incorporates a scaled-to-size eight-foot container ship inside a 12-foot clear glass bottle. The artwork reflects a contemporary concept to unify the aesthetic of modern public art with that of vernacular, nautical craft work. It respectfully acknowledges the central role played by the Port of Los Angeles and the city of San Pedro as the gateway of international commerce
in the U.S.
Telltales Wind Ensemble
Created by nationally renowned artist, Doug Hollis, “Telltales” is an environmental art installation at the Cruise Ship Promenade that features a wind ensemble of sculptures that move and create sounds with the ocean breezes. The large-scale kinetic installation can be thought of as environmental indicator amplifying the sensory awareness of the environment.
Ceramic Tile Benches
Seven regional artists created an array of ceramic tile benches that reflect the local interests, mood, multiculturalism and waterfront character of the San Pedro area. This outdoor public art installation lines the upper Promenade’s concrete benches near the Telltales wind ensemble.
A gift from San Pedro's sister city of Ischia, Italy, the five-foot-tall sculpture by Italian artist Francesco Perilli was designed to represent the power of mankind to unite the world. Serving as a symbol of peace between the two nations, the sculpture stands by the choreographed water fountains on San Pedro's waterfront promenade.