Posts Tagged ‘redevelopment’
“If you look at history, too many great collections ended up in storage and not being shown.”[i] – Eli Broad
Eli Broad, like Alice Walton, the Fishers and George Lucas, has a long history with the city in which he practices his “venture philanthropy.” Broad was not born in Los Angeles, but like the Fishers in San Francisco, he has a long involved history with existing arts and cultural institutions. He has sat and currently sits on the boards of many art museums. Like the Fishers, Lucas and Walton, his decision to build a museum to house his art collection is motivated (partially) by his commitment to his city. But Broad is also doing something in addition to what the Fishers, Lucas and Walton did with their museums; he is utilizing his museum project as leverage for further economic growth. Sure Walton sees Crystal Bridges as having a positive economic effect on Bentonville, but there is nothing in Bentonville: Crystal Bridges is the local economy. Broad is building his museum, not in a rural city, but in the second-most highly populated city in America. Los Angeles already has the strongest brand of any city in the world, and an existing diversified economy. Sure, part of Los Angeles’ economy depend on arts and culture, but it arguably has plenty of existing organizations and venues. If Eli Broad had attempted to build his museum in a place like San Francisco, he might have come up against more public opposition as did the Fishers and Lucas.
LA, or certain people who write about the art scene in LA, or people who get quoted about the art scene in LA, seems to have an inferiority complex. Everything that happens in the arts (a new exhibition, a new art fair, a new museum director…) is deemed the thing that will finally turn LA into an/the art capitol. William Poundstone did a survey of this decades-long mentality[ii] this week inspired by an article in The Economist titled, “2014 may prove a turning point for art museums in Los Angeles.”[iii] But come on – LA, people who write about the art scene in LA, people who get quoted about the art scene in LA, and the people of LA have nothing to prove. The Getty squashed that issue a few years ago, didn’t it?
Back in 2011, the Getty’s ten-years-in-the-making endeavor, Pacific Standard Time (or PST as it has come to be known) opened. Over 60 institutions across Southern California presented exhibitions focused on the region’s art scene between the years of 1945 and 1980. The Getty’s goal was to record, preserve, and present the many contributions Southern Californian artists and arts organizations made to contemporary art during the time period. Initial grants were given to arts organizations to catalogue archives from the period, followed by exhibition grants. Some of these exhibitions traveled to other venues in the country and some traveled internationally. Catalogues from these exhibitions were published and quickly integrated into university curriculums. Besides this trove of scholarship, another goal of PST was to present Los Angeles as an artistic capital.
It may seem unconventional to begin a thesis in arts administration discussing a football stadium. This thesis is an exploration of urban planning in Los Angeles involving large-scale, public-private development. In the following chapters, I document how philanthropist Eli Broad’s under-construction contemporary art museum, The Broad, is being utilized to stimulate further redevelopment of an area of downtown Los Angeles called Bunker Hill. The Broad museum and the larger, coinciding Grand Avenue Project has engendered some conversation about the investment associated with public-private development projects, and the resulting public and private benefits. he amount of dialogue investment and return benefit involved with the Broad museum and Grand Avenue is minimal in comparison to another large-scale, public-private development proposal less than two miles away: Farmer’s Field. The proposed downtown National Football League stadium has garnered substantial, well-publicized and in-depth political, social, and economic debate about investments and benefits. For this reason, I believe reflecting on some of the lively discussions circulating abound Farmer’s Field can be useful in introducing similar questions and concerns, which may not have addressed or considered, or worse ignored, in the planning process of The Broad museum.
FIELD OF SCHEMES? – PUBLIC-PRIVATE INVESTMENT & BENEFIT
“We’ve built more arenas and stadiums than anyone in the world, ever–including the Romans!”[i]
– Tim Leiweke, President and C.E.O., Anschutz Entertainment Group
It is a plotline ripped from the popular television show Entourage (season 7 to be specific). Big-time developer Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) wants to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles. AEG’s tactic to lure a franchise to the city is to build a brand new 1.3 billion stadium in downtown. The new stadium, which AEG has already sold naming rights to will be called Farmers Field, after the insurance company. AEG plans to squeeze the 72,000-seat stadium into the already dense LA Live—an entertainment and sports cluster, which AEG has spent more than a decade developing between the Figueroa corridor and the 110 Freeway. LA Live includes the Staples Center (home to both the Lakers and Clippers NBA franchises), Nokia Theaters, Regal Cinemas, JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton, and Grammy Museum. AEG has appealed for both public and government support of the project by communicating its record of success and by touting a lengthy list of impressive economic benefits, AEG claims, the city would should the NFL return: tens of thousands of jobs, construction of nearby hotels, a revived Convention Center, and hundreds of millions of dollars in increased economic activity.[ii] The economic influence seems incalculable and the project non-negotiable.