Barnsdall Art Park

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Barnsdall Art Park viewed from the north
Barnsdall Art Park plot plan

Barnsdall Art Park is a city park located in the East Hollywood district of Los Angeles, California. [1] [2] Parking and arts buildings access is from Hollywood Boulevard on the park's north side. [3] The park is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, and a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. [4]

The mission of the arts center is to present, promote, enrich, and develop the arts and artists of the Los Angeles region, inclusive of the city's notable cultural diversity. This continues the intentions of Aline Barnsdall, who donated Barnsdall Park to the City of Los Angeles for arts and recreational purposes, including the preservation of the historic architecture and landscape features. Located at the crest of Olive Hill, Barnsdall Art Park overlooks the city of Los Angeles, and the Hollywood Hills, including Griffith Park. The park is centered on the Barnsdall's Hollyhock House designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a National Historic Landmark, Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, and on the National Register of Historic Places in Los Angeles.

History[edit]

Barnsdall Park had its beginning in the early 1900s, when Aline Barnsdall came to the West with plans to develop a new theatre company. In 1927, Barnsdall donated the park and its Frank Lloyd Wright–designed structures to the City of Los Angeles, wishing to provide an accessible arts center that incorporated and preserved the famous Hollyhock House as a vital component. The spirit of Barnsdall's intention was to maintain an active arts center for the community. [5]

Aline Barnsdall[edit]

Aline Barnsdall was a native of Bradford, Pennsylvania. William Barnsdall, her grandfather, drilled the second-largest oil well in the United States, establishing the fortune that would finance Aline's philanthropy and her extensive travels. She was an unconventional, independent woman with a passion for the arts. In the 1910s, her interest in the future of the American stage led her to Chicago, Illinois, where she co-directed an experimental theatre company. While in Chicago, she met the equally unconventional Frank Lloyd Wright, whose recently completed Midway Gardens she admired.

A trip to California turned Barnsdall's attention to Los Angeles. In 1915 she commissioned Wright to help her develop an innovative theatrical community on the nation's western cultural frontier. Selecting a thirty-six acre site in East Hollywood known as Olive Hill, Barnsdall and Wright worked together to develop a plan that included a home for Barnsdall and her young daughter, two secondary residences, a theater, a director's house, a dormitory for actors, studios for artists, shops, and a motion picture theater. The site plan was based on the gridded spacing of the existing olive grove’s 1225 trees.

Because of financial and artistic differences, only the two secondary residences and the Barnsdall home, Hollyhock House, were finally built.In 1915 she commissioned Wright to help her develop an innovative theatrical community on the nation's western cultural frontier. Selecting a thirty-six acre site in East Hollywood known as Olive Hill, Barnsdall and Wright worked together to develop a plan that included a home for Barnsdall and her young daughter, two secondary residences, a theater, a director's house, a dormitory for actors, studios for artists, shops, and a motion picture theater. Because of financial and artistic differences, only the two secondary residences and the Barnsdall home, Hollyhock House, were finally built.

Hollyhock House[edit]

Hollyhock House at Barnsdall Art Park.
Main article: Hollyhock House

The Aline Barnsdall Residence, known as Hollyhock House, was the first Los Angeles project of Frank Lloyd Wright. Built between 1919 and 1921, it represents his earliest efforts to develop a regionally appropriate style of architecture for Southern California. [6]

Taking advantage of the area's mild climate, Hollyhock House is a combination of house and gardens. It is a remarkable example of Wright's love of nature and the way he incorporated it into his designs. The house takes its name from the hollyhock blossom, the favorite flower of Aline Barnsdall. Wright's abstracted hollyhock patterns were incorporated into the decoration motif on and in the residence.

Wright was often absent during the actual construction of Hollyhock House, due to the demands of a major commission, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. Therefore, he gave supervision of the Barnsdall project to two young Taliesin studio associates: his son Lloyd Wright, and Rudolph Schindler. They both became independently renowned architects.

Art park[edit]

In 1926, Aline Barnsdall gave Hollyhock House and eleven surrounding acres to the City of Los Angeles for use as a public park in memory of her father, Theodore Barnsdall. The City agreed to take the Hollywood estate, but initially did not do anything with it, likely because of Barnsdall's restrictions on how the land could be used, as well as her controversial ideals. Part of the ensuing negotiations between the City and Barnsdall included a provision that the California Art Club would be granted a fifteen-year lease (1927–1942) on Hollyhock House to use as their clubhouse.[7]

In the 1950s and 1960s additional art center buildings, including a modern theatre, an art gallery, and studios, were built on Olive Hill in the park. In the 1990s the Olive Hill restoration master plan and work was completed, including restoring the original olive groves.

In 2011, Hollyhock House, along with 20 other Wright-designed buildings in the United States, was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, anticipated for designation in 2014.

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery[edit]

The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) venue that offers dramatic exhibition space for large, thematic group exhibitions and major retrospective exhibitions of individual work. [8]

The Junior Arts Center Gallery is a 2,000-square-foot (190 m2) venue in the building that offers a more intimate gallery space. At times the two galleries are used together for single large-scale exhibitions.

Exhibitions program[edit]

The Municipal Art Gallery's exhibitions program produces approximately nine exhibitions of contemporary art per year. The mission of the program is to promote, interpret, and present to the general public the contemporary art of artists from culturally diverse Southern California. The curatorial focus includes painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design, video, electronic, performance, and installation works. Exhibits at Barnsdall Park receive over 45,000 visitors annually.

Barnsdall Gallery Theatre[edit]

The Barnsdall Gallery Theatre is owned and operated by the Community Arts Division of the City of Los Angeles's Department of Cultural Affairs. It is a 299-seat theater space rented at nominal fees to individuals and organizations for live theatre, dance, music, spoken word, lecture, film, and other events. The theatre is equipped with dual sound, lights, an HD ready digital projector, and built-in 16mm film, slide, and video projectors, as well as dressing rooms and spacious upper and lower lobbies with box office and refreshment counters.

The theatre also co-produces a variety of community events in the space, including many popular free programs, such as the Independent Shakespeare Company, Music Summer Camps by the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, and many annual festivals, including the Thai Festival and Artwallah.

Independent Shakespeare Company

The Independent Shakespeare Company (ISC) is an ongoing, free live summer series held on an outdoor stage in the park.

In 2004, in association with the City's Department of Cultural Affairs, the ISC established a residency in Barnsdall Art Park. The first production was "The Two Gentlemen of Verona". In October 2004, the ISC toured Richard III in France as part of the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale. This production returned to Los Angeles as part of Free Shakespeare in Barnsdall Art Park 2005, performed in rotation with The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Hamlet. In 2005, the ISC returned to Barnsdall Art Park with a new production of Hamlet, running in repertory with Richard III and encore performances of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. In 2006, the ISC produced As You Like It and Hamlet.

Silverlake Conservatory of Music

The Silverlake Conservatory of Music presents Music Summer Camps, bringing music to young people at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. A team of professional master musicians present a music program combining academic information with live performance. The musicians perform their music and then explain how their instruments fit into the rhythm, chord structure, mood, or melody of a piece. Young people who are interested in a musical career are able to learn from professionals. For those with little knowledge of music, the program builds awareness and interest.

Barnsdall Art Center[edit]

The Barnsdall Art Center provides college-level art instruction at low cost in a unique Frank Lloyd Wright building. The center is temporarily housed in the Junior Arts Center due to the closure of the Frank Lloyd Wright building for safety reasons. The Barnsdall Art Center Student Advisory Committee provides support and student influence for the center's growth. The non-profit organization provides volunteer services with registration and financial assistance by covering programs and classes that the City is unable to fund.

The Junior Arts Center[edit]

The Junior Arts Center and Gallery are dedicated to developing the creative process in children and teens. Its vision and mission encourage curiosity, creativity, and human development. [9] Children at the center come from diverse ethnicities, religions, and socio-economic levels. Its programs include the Living Arts Program, which provides arts experience for children with special needs, and the Barnsdall Goes to the Library program, which presents free workshops at local libraries.

The Junior Arts Center offers art programs to children and youth aged 3–18, including many programs designed to serve the needs of children of Los Angeles. Art instruction held at the center throughout the year includes drawing, painting, film making, printmaking, acting, photography, and sculpture. Parent/child classes are also available. The Living Arts Program serves as a national model in arts education for special-needs youth. The arts center's children's gallery features the work of young artists. The center's location within Barnsdall Art Park lends itself to a variety of multicultural festivals, celebrations, and family outings.

The Junior Arts Center Gallery provides family-oriented exhibitions by both children's and adults' work, as well as interactive family exhibits. Annual special events include Día de los Muertos, Aline Barnsdall Day, the culmination of children's classes, and the Barnsdall Art Center's students exhibit.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°06′01″N 118°17′39″W / 34.100167°N 118.29414°W / 34.100167; -118.29414