Monday, February 27, 2012

Clock Tower at Grand Hope Park

Today's mosaic sits near the 9th and Hope entrance of Grand Hope Park.

The park was designed by Lawrence Halprin, who also designed the Clock Tower. 2.5 acres of land was purchased for this park in 1980, but the actual construction took place from 1989 through 1993. Grand Hope Park was the first major downtown park to be built in a century--the previous being Central Park in 1870--which we now know as Pershing Square.

This park is on Hope between Grand (of course) and Olympic.

Grand Hope Park was supposed to open in late 1992, but got delayed over whether or not a security fence was needed. The Community Redevelopment Agency (remember them?) who funded the park decided the fence was needed and asked Halprin to design one.

Halprin was an architect and landscape artist, and a lot of his work is along the Pacific. He did the landscaping plan for the Seattle World's Fair in the 1960s, and United Nations Plaza and Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco. He also designed the FDR Memorial in Washington DC. And in Los Angeles, the Bunker Hill Steps.

The dedication of the park was in June1993, when artists took part in a multicultural celebration there. Including the world's largest accordian concert (maybe), arranged by Joe Vento.

The CRA put $20 million into the park. It's filled with art, including bronze statues of sleek coyotes that are just big enough for children--life-sized, iow. Gwynn Murrill designed those. Other contributing artists were Raul Guerrero, who designed the Hope Street Snake Fountain, and ceramic tiles and bird stencils along the pedestrian walkway (in the ramada), and Lita Albuquerque, who contributed to the main fountain, where the beauty is in the way the water feeds in, not out.

There is also poetry by Wanda Coleman and Kate Braverman along Poet's Walk.

As for the Clock Tower itself, the CRA even commissioned special music for it, from composers John Carter, Michael McNabb, and Ushio Torikai. Carl Stone did the arrangements--or at least, that was the plan. My information was written before the park was completed.

These pictures come from PublicArtinLA, which also has a history of the park. I shamelessly adjusted the contrast and brightness to bring out the color, and cropped one.

The last photo shows the inside of the tower, where there is also mosaic work and inlay.

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