LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
Plaza House and Vickrey-Brunswig Building.
|Location||501 North Main Street|
|Public transit access||Union Station|
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, also called LA Plaza is a Mexican-American museum and cultural center in Los Angeles, California, USA that opened in April 2011. The museum contains interactive exhibits designed by experience design expert Tali Krakowsky such as a reconstruction of 1920's Main Street. The museum shares the stories of the history, cultures, values, and traditions of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and all Latinos in Los Angeles and Southern California. The museum programs include exhibitions, educational programs, and public programming.
The museum is near Olvera Street in the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic District, also called El Pueblo. It is next to La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles, also called La Placita or Plaza Church.
It is owned by Los Angeles County which also owns Los Angeles County Museum of Art and others. For a time after its founding, LA Plaza struggled with financial problems; Donations and grants were expected to surpass $3.5 million in 2017.
County Supervisor Gloria Molina was called "one of the project's earliest supporters and, by all accounts, the person most responsible for bringing it to fruition" by the Los Angeles Times. Part of the cost was funded by Molina's county discretionary spending funds. The center is on 2.2 acres (0.89 ha), with a price tag of $54 million and an operating budget of $850,000. It was designed by Chu+Gooding Architects.
The rehabilitation of the shell and core of the historic Plaza House and Vickrey-Brunswig Building was completed in December 2009. The LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Foundation completed tenant improvements to the two buildings and relocated their administrative offices to the fifth floor of the Vickrey-Brunswig Building in October 2010.
In October 2010, human remains were discovered from an old cemetery during excavations for an outdoor garden walkway and fountain. 118 bodies were removed before community concerns about the possible Native American origin of the remains and poor archaeological handling halted the construction in January 2011. Referring to an Environmental Impact Report conducted by Sapphos Environmental, Gloria Molina said "Had they done better work, we wouldn't be in this situation." Remains were taken to the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
A $135-million development of 341 apartments with shops and community facilities near the cultural center provides funding for nonprofit foundation that runs LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. The project was approved in 2014 along with a deal with the county Board of Supervisors to lease the parcel to the foundation for a dollar who then sublets it to the developer. The site had two public parking lots so the county no longer gets that income but does get property tax revenues from the development.
The project includes a pedestrian oriented arcade facing Spring Street that incorporates prominent access to the LA Plaza Paseo, which connects the parcels to LA Plaza and Union Station. The layout facilitates pedestrian access to Fort Moore and Grand Park on Hill Street. With this project, the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles appears to be reaching the area around Union Station and Olvera Street.
- Boehm, Mike (5 October 2011). "La Plaza is an open and empty space downtown". Los Angeles Times.
- Walker, Alissa (28 April 2011). "A New Cultural Center Brings Mexican American Voices to L.A.'s Birthplace". Good. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- Tobar, Hector (1 April 2011). "An apology comes too late; Mishandling of buried remains mars Molina's dream museum". Los Angeles Times. p. A2. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- Johnson, Reed (11 April 2011). "New focus for Latino culture". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- Bermudez, Esmeralda (15 July 2017). "L.A.'s Mexican American cultural center begins to blossom after a rocky start". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
- FUJIOKA, WILLIAM T (January 7, 2014) "APPROVAL OF LA PLAZA DE CULTURA Y ARTES FOUNDATION; LA PLAZA CULTURA VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT; CONCEPTUAL PLAN PROJECT DESCRIPTION" Chief Executive Office to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors County
- Adelman, Jacob (14 January 2011). "LA Plaza De Cultura y Artes Construction Put On Hold After Human Remains Discovered". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- Sewell, Abby (October 28, 2014) "Downtown's development boom nears historic Olvera Street" Los Angeles Times