On December 8th, the eagerly awaited entrance sign to Barnsdall Park was dedicated at 9:30am. Officiating were Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Tom LaBonge.
Also in attendance were Barnsdall Art Park Foundation co-Presidents Marshall Lewy and Jack Wiant, Department of Recreation and Parks’ Marc Mariscal, Manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs Olga Garay, and many members of the city staff of Barnsdall Art Park.
The completion of construction for the sign is the culmination of a project that the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation launched in September 2005, shortly after Barnsdall Park reopened after a significant renovation. “It’s been a long process and a major undertaking for a volunteer organization,” said Marshall Lewy, co-president of the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation. “The new sign has been our priority since the park reopened, “ he continued. “A key objective of the Foundation is to let the residents of Los Angeles know they have a major cultural landmark in their midst.”
Although the design for a landmark sign, by Sussman-Preja, one of Los Angeles’ premiere design firms, had been approved by the Cultural Heritage Commission at the time of the park renovation, funding was not available to complete it. The lack of a sign at the park became a major concern. Working with the city’s Departments of Recreation and Parks and Cultural Affairs, the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation launched the sign project in September 2005.
“Having the support of both Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge and the CRA/LA was essential,” continued Lewy. “Once we proved that the Foundation could raise the necessary funds, we were on our way.”
The Barnsdall Art Park Foundation raised the majority of the funds for the project, with additional support from the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles. The Hollywood Arts Council, a key partner in the project from the beginning, secured additional funding from AT&T, Edison International and Occidental Petroleum.
“The timing is perfect, since Hollyhock House has recently been added to the National Register of Historic Places and is currently up for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,“ said Lewy.
Former Foundation board member and architect Jim Heaton III was the project manager. Heaton shepherded planning, construction and installation, with assistance from former Foundation co-Presidents Cheryl Johnson and Nyla Arslanian. Vomar Products of Canoga Park fabricated and installed the landmark sign.
The Barnsdall Art Park Foundation is committed to nurturing Barnsdall Park’s legacy as a dynamic and vibrant cultural, artistic, and recreational center. In addition to completing the sign project, the Foundation funded kilns to help reinstate the art center’s ceramic’s program. Also, it recently provided $25,000 towards other needs, including new audio-visual equipment for the Gallery Theatre, a new piano for the Barnsdall Art Center’s music program, a 20-ton manual press for the Junior Art Center, and restoration of the Hollyhock House mahogany countertops. It brings thousands of new people to the park each year with its successful summer wine tasting events, and offers free Sunday art workshops for children.