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LACMA may expand into South LA Wetlands Park

It would host art and cultural programming and instructional workshops

South Los Angeles Wetlands Park
Bri Weldon / Flickr creative commons

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is looking to expand into South LA, bringing arts and cultural programs and workshops to a wetlands park near Slauson Avenue and Avalon Boulevard.

According to a report from the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners, LACMA is in talks with the city’s parks department to repair and retrofit a vacant 84,000-square-foot building at the park, a former Metro maintenance and storage yard turned green space.

The museum wants to sign a 35-year lease. The report says:

LACMA shall use the premises area for the operation of art and culture-related and instructional public programs and ancillary or related uses, including the storage of LACMA's art collection, operation of a restaurant or cafe, operation of a retail space, and providing recreational and instructional programs to the surrounding communities.

Additionally, within one year of the execution date of the Lease, LACMA shall provide certain public programming at several recreation centers within the surrounding communities. Within eighteen (18) months of the execution of the Lease, LACMA will begin public programming on the premises area.

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Some of programs might include teen tour guide programs, a “social justice-themed school tour and art-making” workshop, and training programs for teaching assistants, says the report.

LACMA’s Senior Director of Communications Miranda Carroll confirms the museum is working with the city to “develop a museum program” in the large, long-vacant building at the park, and that they’re working to obtain all the approvals and permits needed to do so.

It’s not clear from the report how long this idea has been simmering; it says only that the possibility of LACMA opening a museum in the old bus facility building is something parks department and museum have discussed “recently.”

It may be a little while until a concrete plan emerges. Commissioners postponed voting to authorize negotiations on the lease at their May 23 meeting.

The nine-acre South Los Angeles Wetlands Park includes a pocket park and trails, observation decks, and picnic areas.
Via city of Los Angeles cultural affairs department

The South Los Angeles Wetlands Park opened in 2012. Besides being a recreation spot, it’s designed to filter storm runoff through its wetlands and can treat up to 680,000 gallons of LA’s runoff per day—enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, says LA Stormwater.