To mark the historic opening of the first phase of the Expo Line, now E Line (Expo) and to welcome new transit riders to the neighborhood, Metro celebrated the many contributions of the South Los Angeles community and its rich diversity in a series of light pole banners installed along Crenshaw Blvd. between Exposition and Vernon. The banners depicted scenes from the neighborhood past and present, as seen through the eyes of local youth artists.
The project was produced by Metro Art through L.A. Commons in conjunction with neighborhood partners KAOS Network, Community Build, Crenshaw High School Art Department and World Stage.
Lead artists John Outterbridge, Maria Elena Cruz, Dominique Moody, Noni Olabisi, and Wendell Wiggins were selected as the creative force behind the project based on their public art experience, artistic merit, and familiarity with the Leimert Park neighborhood. Resource material for the project was developed during a ‘story summit’ hosted on May 22, 2010.
About the Artist
JOHN OUTTERBRIDGE (b. 1933, Greenville, North Carolina; d. 2020, Altadena, California) was born and raised in North Carolina and studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Best known for his assemblage works, Outterbridge lives and works in South Central Los Angeles, and served as the director of Watts Towers Arts Center for 17 years before devoting himself full time to his own artwork. His work was featured in a one-person retrospective at the African-American Museum in Los Angeles. Outterbridge has represented the U.S. in major international exhibitions in Brazil, Cuba, and South Africa. His work explores issues pertaining to personal identity based on family, community, the environment, and aesthetics. He is well-recognized for his skill in creating art from found objects and discarded materials.
NONI OLABISI (b. 1954, St. Louis; d. 2022, Los Angeles, CA) is a prolific muralist whose paintings can be found on the facades of buildings throughout Los Angeles. Some of her best-known murals include Freedom Won’t Wait (1992) and To Protect and Serve (1996). Olabisi earned an associate’s degree from Los Angeles Southwest College. Her work has been featured in many exhibitions throughout the United States, and she is the recipient of a number of awards.