VOICES--The Hollywood building where iconic Pop-artist, educator and social justice advocate Corita Kent (1918-1986) worked in the 1960’s is currently slated for demolition.
As her former working studio, this location is where she made some of her most recognizably vibrant and bold artworks and this location may be lost forever for future generations.
While the building is currently occupied by a dry cleaning business, it is still remembered by Corita’s students, colleagues and enthusiasts as the location where she created many of her powerful artworks. Artworks that addressed issues of poverty, racism, war, and injustice with a distinct bold graphic style that continues to influence artists and advocates worldwide. Due to a private development, the building will be knocked over to make room for more parking, and ultimately scrubbed from Los Angeles history.
The historical designation of this building is a rare opportunity for the City of Los Angeles to recognize and preserve the vital history of a woman who shattered stereotypes and is now globally beloved as an artist and educator that taught a generation to lead with love. The Corita Art Center, located across the street from 5518 Franklin, has been working tirelessly around the clock to help save this historic location.
“The endeavor to Save Corita’s Studio is an important one, I believe it should give pause to the community with how we recognize, remember and celebrate the work of notable women in history, specifically women artists and their cultural contributions,” said Nellie Scott, Director of Corita Art Center. “Corita’s artwork and the work made in this space are significant. The building is where she created artwork that joyfully defied stereotypes and championed collective hope, artworks including - Get with Action, My People, and Power Up. These artworks hold historical relevance to not only Corita’s legacy in Los Angeles, but globally. Her studio and her legacy must be preserved for future generations.”
The community in opposition of paving over this historical landmark are specificall y asking that the building be designated under Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) status by the Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC). They are asking supporters to let Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the Los Angeles City Councilmember representing the 13th district know how important this building is and what it represents to Los Angeles culture.
Immediately upon hearing of the threat to Corita’s former art studio late this summer, the Corita Art Center put together a rapid response HCM application for the Cultural Heritage Commission. With the intention that a timely review of the building would be made. The rapid response application was accepted and now, through the Save Corita Studio efforts, will be on the CHC agenda for the October 15th CHC meeting as the building is still on the chopping block.
Advocates for this Los Angeles cultural landmark are urging the Cultural Heritage Commission to recommend the designation of 5518 Franklin Avenue and send the designation to the Los Angeles City Council to decide whether or not the building can ultimately be saved or face demolition. Just last year, the City and County of Los Angeles declared November 20th to be Corita Day in honor of her legacy thanks to the support of Councilmember David E. Ryu and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
About the Corita Art Center:
The Corita Art Center maintains the largest and most comprehensive collection of work by iconic pop artist pioneer Corita Kent (1918-1986). The Center’s collection is composed of Corita’s artwork, photographs, ephemera, and other archival material that visitors won’t see anywhere else. The Corita Art Center is dedicated to preserving and promoting Corita’s artistic and educational legacy as well as her passion for social justice. Today, the Corita Art Center oversees image and merchandising rights, produces public programming, supports exhibition loans and serves as a resource for information about her life and work. The Corita Art Center is a project of the Immaculate Heart Community, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020.