Project Willowbrook Receives National Recognition




The project was chosen from 345 submissions across the United States

July 14, 2014 – Americans for the Arts through the Public Art Network Year in Review has named Project Willowbrook: Cultivating a Healthy Community through Arts and Culture one of the 37 outstanding public art projects of 2013.

The annual Public Art Network Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes excellence in public art. The 2014 Year in Review awardees were chosen from 345 diverse public art projects throughout the United States. This is the third civic art project by the LA County Arts Commission to be recognized by the program. The other two works are Subdivisions by Anne Marie Karlsen at Lawndale Library (2008) and Orit Haj by Didier Hess at Vasquez Rocks (2013).

Project Willowbrook is a new and dynamic model for asset mapping and public engagement in civic planning,” said Margaret Bruning, Director of Civic Art, Los Angeles County Arts Commission. “The project continues to inform and influence Los Angeles County planning and improvement projects underway in Willowbrook and serves as a model for holistic community development and artist-driven public engagement.

A year-long research and public engagement initiative, Project Willowbrook was designed to identify the distinct cultural assets of the south Los Angeles community of Willowbrook in support of significant County investments in the area, including the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus. The Arts Commission and project partners LA Commons and artist Rosten Woo employed innovative research and engagement strategies to draw out, interpret, visualize and convey Willowbrook’s distinct cultural characteristics. They included artwork creation by local artists, participatory dance events, a festival featuring local talent as well as a home, garden and vehicle tour which yielded a 125 page book “Willowbrook Is/Es…” A creative visioning tool highlighting the traditions and creative practices of the community, the book is intended for use by residents, policy makers and planners. The book, along with several other documents produced through Project Willowbrook, represents a deepened understanding of the community’s creative pulse and distinct identity while demonstrating the expanded role of arts and culture in community development. These resources can be viewed and downloaded at

In December 2004, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted the County’s first Civic Art Policy, which allocates one percent of County capital projects to civic art. The policy allows for integrated permanent public art enhancements, temporary art commissions, restoration of historic artworks and the creation of cultural spaces or activities. The Los Angeles County Arts Commission is responsible for the administration of the Civic Art Policy.

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County, encompassing 88 municipalities, and provides leadership in cultural services. In addition to its role implementing the county’s Civic Art program, the Arts Commission funds 380 nonprofit arts organizations through a $4.5 million grant program, helms the regional initiative dedicated to restoring arts education to 81 school districts, programs and operates the Ford Theatres and funds the largest arts internship program in the country. The Arts Commission also produces free community programs, including the LA County Holiday Celebration for public television.


A project of the Arts Commission’s Civic Art Program,  Project Willowbrook was supported by the Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Second District, Los Angeles County and through a generous award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more about the L.A. County Arts Commission Civic Art Program and its projects, visit

A complete list of the 2014 PAN Year in Review awardees can be found here: