Public Art at Exposition Park and the California Science Center

"Established in 1872 as a privately owned racetrack and fairgrounds, the park was purchased jointly by the state, county and city in 1889 with the Los Angeles County Historical and Art Museum being constructed in 1910. The museum grew and eventually divided into what is now the Los Angeles County Art Museum on Wilshire Boulevard and the County Museum of Natural History in the park." (Robert H. Timme, "Accenting the Positive in Exposition Park," Los Angeles Times, October 30, 1998, p.B9)

Exposition Park is bound on the north side by Exposition boulevard and the University of Southern California, Vermont boulevard to the west, Figueroa boulevard to the east, and the Coliseum to the south. It started its life as an agricultural fairground for farmers to exhibit produce, and before the turn of the century the area was a fashionable residential neighborhood. Nearby Chester Place and St. James Park housed some of the most affluent people in town, including the Dohenys. In 1910 the fairgrounds became a public park through efforts of a judge concerned with loitering and prostitution and their negative effect on the neighborhood. The 1913 plan was inspired by the City Beautiful movement, and the rose garden, which features about 200 varieties of roses, derives from that period. The current master plan to renovate Exposition Park won the American Institute of Architects' 1993 Urban Design Award of Excellence and will be implemented in stages, with the involvement of the University of Southern California (much of the information for this introduction comes from Letitia Burns O'Connor's "Discover Los Angeles; An Informed Guide to L.A.'s Rich and Varied Cultural Life, 1997, pp. 173-174.) Do not reproduce information from this site without acknowledgement of the artists and their works, or of the authors of this site.

Sculptures by Thyra Boldsen, given to the city in 1935, removed most likely in the 1970s:



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For questions, contact Ruth Wallach, USC Libraries
6/2007