On a crisp late fall day, hundreds of South L.A. community leaders, activists and longtime residents convened on the top level of a parking structure adjoining the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza shopping center. What lured them there: a private preview of Destination Crenshaw, a 1.3-mile open-air museum that planners said will offset the effects of gentrification and revitalize the vibrant heart of black Los Angeles.
As the sound of an R&B band floated through the air, the crowd separated into groups and entered small tents where Destination Crenshaw leaders outlined specific facets of the project. In one tent, Perkins+Will architects showed renderings of the design. In another, artist, gardener and activist Ron Finley described how Crenshaw Boulevard would be transformed by art, the open-air museum anchored by two large monuments and featuring more than 100 rotating and permanent art installations on sidewalks, business facades and public structures tackling themes like community resiliency and Afro-futurism in South L.A.