As winner of the My LA2050 Grants Challenge to make Los Angeles the Best Place to Play, Grand Park - the Park for Everyone in Downtown Los Angeles - was thrilled to recently unveil Paper Airplanes, a remarkable installation that is both public art and practical infrastructure, providing whimsy and excitement as well as some very necessary shade to park visitors young and old.
This spectacular new shade structure was designed by local artists Elenita Torres and Dean Sherriff, and engineered and manufactured by Canvas Specialty in East Los Angeles. The eleven planes were constructed of translucent, heat-resistant fabric in a building process that took six months from concept to installation.
Each plane represents one incorporated city in LA County and together the planes represent all 88 incorporated cities.
After successfully marshalling Angelenos to support the shade project by voting for Grand Park in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge, Grand Park continued its public-spiritedness by holding a design contest for the shade structure itself. Local artists submitted more than 50 design concepts suited to the space and reflective of the spirit of Grand Park and the diverse communities that frequent it.
There were so many amazing submissions that appealed to the Grand Park executive committee – but once again public input was prioritized to determine the winning design. An online campaign was launched to encourage the public to vote for one of three top designs selected by the committee after in-depth personal interviews with the artists. Grand Park staff even canvassed the park during lunchtime to engage the public in conversations about the final design options. Public participation soared with nearly 4,000 responses in less than two weeks to the big question: L.A., which do you LOVE?
The three final designs each reflected a unique characteristic of Grand Park but in the end, the online public voting campaign crowned Paper Airplanes the undisputed winner. Paper Airplanes captures the free spirit and playfulness of Grand Park, soaring over Olive Court and bringing much needed shade and delight to everyone who visits to play, enjoy quiet green spaces, and attend free events in DTLA.
One of the major goals at Grand Park is to create a sense of community by truly engaging the public. By sparking the public's participation in helping Grand Park win the My LA2050 grant and then again in the final design selection, the park met an important milestone in the continuing mission to make Grand Park the Park for Everyone. And with the comforting shade the planes provide, visitors agree that Grand Park is cooler than ever!