Freewaves and art on the bus

Last Saturday, my posse (ok, I don’t really have a posse, but work with me here) and I attended Video on the Loose, an exhibit of video art from Los Angeles’ Freewaves, a community-based organization in Los Angeles that tries to produce images in the public sphere from a variety of sources and artists and which is celebrating its 20th year in existence.

A new, very exciting, partnered project of theirs has just received funding:

Freewaves, Echo Park Film Center, Public Matters Group and UCLA REMAP receive $100,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for MetroVoice, an initiative to involve youth in writing and producing videos and TV screen text banners. The geo-coded messages will be transmitted on 2200 LA Metro buses, and explore aspects of the young participants’ families and neighborhoods.


My two companions were a bit mystified by the social significance of putting art on the bus. For those of us who have been in the transit business for awhile, the transgressive and social aspects to putting art on the bus, made by local artists, is probably pretty apparent. Public art tours on transit tend to focus on rail transit, with its higher socio-eonomic profile, riders, and audiences. Plenty of Los Angelenos are engaging with at LA-area TODs, dripping with design and art, without setting a foot on either the bus or the train, if the ridership numbers are believable. Putting art on the bus suggests engaging with those riders too often taken for granted by transit companies. Having it be art about the communities that the buses are traversing connects mobility with place; communities are no longer merely pass-throughs in the process of mobility.

It’s a very cool idea, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out.

Freewaves has produced a book and a dvd well worth investing in, see here.

Nora Ephron’s Urban Views

When you say Nora Ephron, I suspect that most people think “chick flick.” Intellectuals, in particular, are always very careful to say they don’t like her movies; and the same sorts of women who take pride in telling me they *hate* Jane Austen similarly take pride in telling me they *hate* Nora Ephron.

Well, I love Nora Ephron. I love her movies, and I really love her books. What I really love about Nora Eprhon is that her cities are part of her stories. How many truly beautiful movies of Baltimore have you ever seen? But the truth is, Baltimore has some absolutely lovely neighborhoods, and in Ephron’s capable hands, you get to see Kevin Lynch’s “Imagabilty” come to life on film. Baltimore, New York, Seattle, even LA–she can find the loveliness in just about any urban context.

From Sleepless in Seattle, Chicago:

From Sleepless, Seattle:

A gathering of women in one of those fantastic SF Valley backyards, from Bewitched:

One of those incredible LA west side homes, from Hanging Up:

There are almost too many to choose from the move You’ve Got Mail, which like many of Woody Allen’s films is as much of a love story about New York as it is a love story between two people:

Pritzker Price in Architecture

Cityscapes: Tokyo-based duo win Pritzker Prize; recent works include Glass Pavilion in Toledo, New Museum in Manhattan

I’m a bit late with commenting on this as the announcement was made last Sunday, but the Pritzker committee decided to honor the Japanese team Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa together for the award. I love their work, and I think this is an awesome choice. They have done some absolutely breathtaking work!


In response to my post the other day about my favorite bat, one of my wonderful students emailed me to say that she didn’t realize that I had a favorite bat. She, too, it seems, is a bat enthusiast.

Among my other enthusiasm is grass. Yes, grass (no, not that kind of grass. You People). I’m a sucker for ornamental grasses in any landscape. So it was nice to read an op-ed in the New York TImes Olivia Judson, quickly becoming my favorite writer in their stable, on grasses:

Evolution by the Grassroots – Opinionator Blog –

I’ve always rather felt a bit guilty about my fondness for grasses, as trying to maintain a Kentucky Bluegrass yard is a pretty big environmental bad in arid southern California. But there are plenty of grasses that don’t need the water, and many of them are beautiful, as well, and as Judson points out, useful as corridors for wildlife.

Going… Going… Green! Art in the Village

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 – Friday, March 19, 2010

University Village Shopping Center
3375 South Hoover Street
Food Court
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Children from the USC Family of Schools artistically express how they can contribute to a greener environment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 – Friday, March 19, 2010

University Village Shopping Center
3375 South Hoover Street
Food Court
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Each academic year, the USC Fisher Museum of Art plans, curates and professionally installs four temporary student art exhibitions at the University Village Shopping Center Food Court for the Art in the Village program.

For this year’s first exhibition, elementary school kids belonging to the USC Family of Schools (32nd Street/USC Magnet, Alexander Science Center School, Foshay Learning Center, John Mack Elementary, Norwood Elementary, St. Agnes Parish School, St. Vincent Parish School, Vermont Avenue Elementary and Weemes Elementary) were invited to create and submit artwork fitting the theme “Going… Going… Green!”

Each exhibition kicks off with an opening reception honoring the 40 students with the best artwork. The children have the opportunity to speak with family, friends and community members about their work. They are congratulated for their achievements during an awards ceremony, at which they receive a certificate signed by Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard C. Parks.

Funded in part by a USC Neighborhood Outreach Grant, Art in the Village represents a partnership between the USC Fisher Museum of Art, the University Village Shopping Center and the USC Family of Schools.

Katherine Goar

(213) 740-4561