Grand Park, powered by The Music Center, will magnify the culturally rich and diverse communities that comprise L.A. County with a month-long public art installation that applies an artistic lens to celebrate home and freedom, themes often associated with July 4th observances.
From July 1–31, 2021, Grand Park’s Portraits of Freedom: Building a Life in L.A. will feature photography and video exhibitions as well as a nighttime projection installation. Located throughout different areas of Grand Park between Grand Avenue and North Broadway, the on-site programming will illuminate Los Angeles through civic pride, identity and engagement while narrating cornerstone stories of the American experience.
Portraits of Freedom: Building a Life in L.A. will take place in lieu of the annual Grand Park + The Music Center’s 4th of July Block Party; the county’s largest free Independence Day celebration will return in 2022. Grand Park will remain open on July 4th for Angelenos to enjoy the installations as well as the park’s lush gardens and grassy areas. However, there will be no live events, including the traditional fireworks show, occurring that day as the County finalizes its master reopening plan that will allow the park to resume more large-scale events.
“Rather than a one-day event, Grand Park is marking the July 4th holiday with a month-long celebration with Grand Park’s Portraits of Freedom: Building a Life in L.A. The public art installations highlight the people and places of Los Angeles County and our diverse interests and serve as inspiration behind our collective longing for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Rachel S. Moore, president and CEO, The Music Center. “Our Grand Park team has curated a multitude of arts experiences to inform and celebrate our community while allowing Angelenos to ease back into summer routines, including relaxing in the park on warm days or strolling through its beautiful green spaces on cool evenings.”
“As July marks the history of our nation’s Independence, Grand Park’s Portraits of Freedom: Building a Life in L.A. goes local to honor the contributions and reflections of immigrants, BIPOC communities and Indigenous stewardship as part of these new public art installations,” added Julia Diamond, director, Grand Park. “From its opening in 2012, Grand Park has been proud to be the flagship location for the County’s communal celebrations and will continue to be. Yet at its core, Grand Park offers so much more with its expansive lawns, shade-lined sidewalks, walking trails and a sense of place, where Angelenos can enjoy summer outings within a sprawling civic center. With Grand Park’s Portraits of Freedom: Building a Life in L.A. installations located in pockets throughout the park, visitors can discover and become reacquainted with all that Grand Park has to offer year-round.”
Community members from across L.A. County are invited to follow Grand Park on social media channels to learn more about #PortraitsOfFreedom and share their own stories and reflections of home and freedom. For updated information, visit grandparkla.org. Follow Grand Park on Facebook (GrandParkLosAngeles), as well as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok (@GrandPark_LA) and use hashtag #PortraitsOfFreedom for this celebration.
Highlights of Grand Park’s Portraits of Freedom: Building a Life in L.A.:
July 1–31, 2021
Grand Park (Between Grand Avenue and North Broadway)
200 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
ON-SITE ART INSTALLATIONS:
Location: Hall of Records (between Hill Street and North Broadway)
Photos, motion graphics and aphorisms will take over the outside walls of the Hall of Records and other areas throughout Grand Park with a large-scale nighttime projection for visitors to enjoy during an evening stroll through the park. Photojournalist Samanta Helou Hernandez will display a photo narrative, Stories from a Redlined Neighborhood, about creating home and multicultural community in a formerly redlined neighborhood in Los Angeles; Multidisciplinary designer and artist Diane Lindquist will source phrases and mantras affirming the values of home and freedom into weekly art pieces called at Home; and Solidarity For Sanctuary, in collaboration with Kids of Immigrants, LA Street Vendor Campaign and Jesse Jaramillo, will create a photo-essay installation focusing on street vendors and immigrants’ experience.
What is Freedom? Where is Home?
Location: Olive Court (between Grand Avenue and Hill Street)
Grand Park will display four large murals designed and painted by artist Jonah Elijah. He will paint his depictions of home and freedom as an ode to his reflections of youth, joy and the social landscape of being Black in America. Additionally, the visual artist has created a mixtape of spoken word, music and social justice reflections that will be heard on-site to complement his artwork.
Child Care, Unfiltered
Location: Community Terrace (between Hill Street and Broadway)
Coordinated by Southern California Public Radio, home to LAist.com and KPCC (89.3 FM), Child Care, Unfiltered is an outdoor photo gallery that will explore the experience of work, family and home through the eyes of those who care for Southern California’s youngest children. The importance of childcare has been front and center during the pandemic and added additional pressures to an already strained workforce that is predominantly women of color. KPCC/LAist gave point-and-shoot film cameras to 12 Southern California childcare providers and caregivers and invited them to document their lives. This creative photography project is the collective brainchild of KPCC/LAist visual journalist José Salvador “Chava” Sánchez, early childhood reporter Mariana Dale and early childhood engagement producer Stefanie Ritoper.
Location: Fountain Overlook (near Grand Avenue)
Exhibiting his motion portraits for the first time, documentary photographer Sam Comen will bring his Working America series to Grand Park’s Portraits of Freedom: Building a Life in L.A. Presented on five 5’ x 8’ LED walls, Comen’s Working America motion portraits and interviews with workers celebrate the contributions of immigrant Americans, and question if the national trope of hard work as a path to economic independence and inclusion is a reality for people of color and immigrants. The portraits document the lives and contributions these men and women continue to make to the U.S. A still portrait from the same series, titled “Jesus Sera, Dishwasher,” was awarded second prize in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s triennial portrait exhibition The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today (on view 2019–2022).
Solidarity for Street Vendors: The Entrepreneurs of Los Angeles
Location: Performance Lawn (near Hill Street)
Food is a cultural conduit of nostalgia and a reminder of home. Solidarity for Sanctuary, in partnership with the LA Street Vendor Campaign, will highlight the work of street vendors in Los Angeles in a photo and video presentation exhibited on an LED wall with artwork by Jesse Jaramillo. Exhibited on the LED wall will be the short documentary, Vendedores en Acción (Vendors in Action or VEA), directed by Alvaro Parra and presented by Self Help Graphics & Art as part of the Art Rise/WE RISE initiative, that follows six street vendors and leaders of the VEA coalition. The tribute offers immigrants a taste of home and, with that, a safe space of comfort and validation. Streetwear brand Kids of Immigrants amplifies the work of the LA Street Vendor Campaign so that park goers can learn about the stories of these vital Angelenos.