Friday, June 26, 2009

Art glass wall at new Lawndale Library gets national award


Civic Art



For release June 25, 2009


Press Contacts (not for publication):

Rebecca Banyas, Interim Director of Civic Art, Los Angeles County Arts Commission,

(213) 202-3986,


Linda Chiavaroli, Director of Communications, Los Angeles County Arts Commission,

office (213) 202-5935, mobile (323) 810-9240,



More information and photos of “Subdivisions” may be found at


Americans for the Arts announcement of public art awards may be found at




“Subdivisions” was produced through L.A. County’s Civic Art Program


The art glass wall by Anne Marie Karlsen that is a dominant feature of L.A. County’s new Lawndale Library dedicated last November has been named one of the Best Public Art Projects in U.S. by Americans for the Arts. The award was announced June 20 during the Americans for the Arts annual convention in Seattle. The forty works cited as “the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2008” were selected from more than 300 entries nationwide.


In “Subdivisions” Karlsen reconfigured Lawndale history into art glass. From a distance the glass wall, in cool blues and greens, seems to be made of intricate geometric patterns like those you would see if you looked through a kaleidoscope. However, on closer inspection, the viewer finds fragments of local history. On one panel, a newspaper headline, “Opening Today – LAWNDALE,” forms a border around graceful shapes from the cover illustration of a Lawndale Poultry Colony brochure. The 20-foot high by 15-foot wide floor to ceiling artwork is the focal point of the library’s glass corridor and welcomes visitors entering from the direction of Lawndale City Hall and from Hawthorne Blvd. The new library, part of the County of Los Angeles Public Library, is located at 147th Street and Burin Avenue in Lawndale.


"Residents of the 2nd Supervisorial District are proud of Ms. Karlsen and the great honor she has received. Her work captures the rich history of the community of Lawndale and provides a warm welcome to visitors who come seeking knowledge from a fine County library," said Mark Ridley-Thomas, 2nd District Supervisor.


The artwork was commissioned under Los Angeles County’s Civic Art Program, administered by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Rebecca Banyas of the Arts Commission was project manager for “Subdivisions.” Under the Civic Art Program, one percent of construction costs of all County capital projects over $500,000 is set aside for the incorporation of civic art.


Karlsen, a resident of the Los Angeles community of Westchester, earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin and has been teaching art in southern California since 1979. She is currently Professor of Art at Santa Monica College. Since 1990 she has been commissioned for numerous public projects throughout the country, including Paseo Colorado Development, Pasadena; North Hollywood Red Line station; and Trailside Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska. Her work is represented in many museums throughout California and the U.S. and internationally in the Kulturverwaltung Stadt Salzburg, Austria.


This is the ninth year that Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, has recognized public art works. The artists and commissioning organizations involved in creating and citing these public art works will receive letters of recognition and congratulations from Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch.


The Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Laura Zucker, Executive Director, provides leadership in cultural services of all disciplines for the largest county in the United States, encompassing 88 municipalities. The Arts Commission, in addition to overseeing the County’s Civic Art Program for capital projects, provides leadership and staffing to support the regional blueprint for arts education, Arts for All; administers a $4.5 million grants program that funds more than 300 nonprofit arts organizations annually; funds the largest arts internship program in the country in conjunction with the Getty Foundation; programs the John Anson Ford Theatres and supports the Los Angeles County Cultural Calendar on The Commission also produces free community programs, including the L.A. Holiday Celebration broadcast nationally, and a year-round music program that funds more than 50 free concerts each year in public sites. The 2009-10 President of the Arts Commission is Araceli Ruano.



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