Mara Lonner’s artwork at the entrance pavilion of MLK Jr. Station is inspired by the surrounding Leimert Park neighborhood, of which she was a long-time resident. The artist engaged her neighbors and other community members in conversations about what characterizes the area to create Leimert Park Landscape. Her collaged renderings of Japanese-influenced landscaping, architectural embellishments such as weathervanes and stained-glass windows, and distinguishing signage allude to the businesses, institutions and cultural landmarks—both past and present—that have been imprinted by this unique community.
In 2019, the artist organized a neighborhood walk to show and speak about some of the local homes and gardens that inspired the details of the artwork design and introduced community members to the artwork through an artmaking activity at a local event.
“Stained-glass windows, weathervanes, sculpted trees and exterior ornaments . . . are as unique and fascinating as the long-time inhabitants of this neighborhood’s houses and apartments.”
About the Artist
MARA LONNER (b.1956) interweaves architectural ornaments and botanical forms in her sculptures, drawings and installations. She was a longtime resident of Los Angeles who lived in the Leimert Park neighborhood for many years before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2017. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts. She has taught art and design at CalArts and Long Beach City College, and was a lecturer at the University of California, Irvine from 1996-2017. Working in a variety of media, her work has been exhibited in galleries and as site-specific installations throughout the United States. She has been awarded artist residencies from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and Theodore Payne Foundation, and grants from the California Arts Council and the Durfee Foundation. She has completed public art commissions for the Los Angeles International Airport and Mid Valley Multigenerational Center in collaboration with Kim Schoenstadt and at the San Angelo City Park through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.