New York and Los Angeles are two of the biggest cities in the United States with lots and lots of traffic. Yes, the kind of traffic that keeps you stuck on the 405 freeway, that causes mild road rage and also grants you a traffic ticket, unless you’re a physics genius and can prove your innocence and the officer’s warped perception of reality using the laws of acceleration and deceleration.
But, I digress.
I’m talking about the financial traffic that overtakes our cityscapes with high rises, huge shopping complexes, graffiti murals and mini golf courses. Huh?
Meet Los Angeles based artist, Rosten Woo, who will have you looking at the city very differently in 2017. Woo is a a designer, writer and educator that produces civic scale artworks and also contributes as a collaborator to grassroots and non-profit organizations. Recently, Woo was awarded $50,000 from the Mike Kelley Foundation of Arts Grant in 2016 to fund his current project with the LAPD called, The Back 9, a 9-hole mini golf course running through Skid Row’s History and Museum and Archive, addressing current and historic zoning issues in downtown Los Angeles, Single Room Occupancy housing supporting Skid Row, to the potential implications and dangers of Skid Row residents (which is currently home to 6,000 homeless residents, originating as an open air sanctuary for the disenfranchised since the early 1900’s) due to the city of Los Angeles’ new recode initiative. In order for visitors to understand the contents and design of the exhibition, Woo will lead free workshops with members of the LAPD, artists who work and live in Skid Row and company members will also create a huge theatrical performance on the golf course as their stage.
“The holes will require a certain type of decision making,” says Rosten Woo. “There will be multiple ways to get through the course. As players navigate through the course, they will also run through the history of zoning in this area.”
Getting back to New York traffic, artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida, are raising awareness about how street art can be used as a tool of the real estate market, sometimes unbeknownst to the artists themselves, to increase property value and gentrify poor neighborhoods. Their project is called, Month2Month, and it’s also a grassroots public arts event initiative taking place in the homes of NYC residents about how class, wealth and social mobility affect people’s ability to thrive in the city.
Photos: David McNew, Henriette Brouwers, Rosten Woo, Month2Month