Public art is transformative when artists exhibit work in a community and in turn create emotional connections with its members. Public art helps define both culture and landscape in the areas where it’s created and often inspires and beautifies settings that were otherwise devoid of creative energy. As we become heavily consumed by technology and our connection to each other grows cold, public art celebrates the human spirit by highlighting the most precious asset we have: our imagination.
BlackListLA is a Los Angeles-based running organization that celebrates this idea of appreciating public art by curating jogging routes as public art tours. Every Monday night the running tribe explores a new route showcasing specially selected street art, merging the exercise experience with art celebration.
Public art is in the DNA of BlacklistLA. The group appreciates how artists beautify city walls and inspire urbanites while on their daily commute or workout. It was this concept that triggered an idea from the organization’s founder Erik Valiente – how cool would it be to curate specific art works that speak to the journey of being a runner and pushing them towards their goals – murals that were dedicated to us, runners in L.A.?
Valiente enlisted lululemon athletica and DoArt Foundation as partners to bring this concept to life, to create large-scale public art installations executed to speak to the runners of L.A. directly. From the beginning, this project was focused on the power of community, art, exercise and the urban phenomenon of running through public art as a form of motivation and discovery of Los Angeles.
On February 8th at 10PM in downtown L.A. the product of this philosophy was born at the LOVEISRUNISLOVE event where energized runners embarked on a run for the purpose of seeing street art curated to inspire them.
Under the direction of Carmen Zella, Do Art’s founder, the installations were scattered throughout downtown Los Angeles. “We wanted to achieve diversity with both the styles of artists and the type of artwork. Each artist approached the concept of creating a mural to celebrate the Love of L.A. and Run a little differently,” Zella said.
Artist Drew Merritt conducted a photo shoot with the BlackListLA runners and selected a composition that commemorated them, while Bunnie Reiss created a unique mural based on the love of Los Angeles and community spirit. Artist Calder Greenwood created two giant 12 foot cardboard sculptures of a running Astronaut and a running Hermes to sprinkle along the route, and WRDSMTH wheat pasted quotes to inspire and motivate runners during the experience.
In the words of Valiente, “how cool is it to be recognized and used as inspiration for an artist you admire?” As a result of LOVEISRUNISLOVE, runners now have an art destination in the city that is specific to them, where they can actually see their influence in L.A. and in the art community. What’s more, DoArt Foundation took care of city permits so the art installations can be kept alive – the group even transported the art along the L.A. Marathon and Olympic Trials courses for everyone to enjoy!
About the partners:
BlacklistLA connects runners to community, art, and people while providing a safe and energetic environment. By engaging our community in exciting athletic events that foster movement, local discovery, cultural awareness, and civic pride, we empower runners to discover the streets of Los Angeles now and forever. Fiscal agent, Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Run Committee, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. blacklistla.city
Do Art Foundation
Do Art helps to develop artistic projects that revitalize physical and social landscapes. Through partnerships and support, Do Art creates experiences that connect communities, engage the public’s imagination and motivate cultural exchange, and harnesses art’s power as a source of hope, inspiration and change. 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization. doartfoundation.org
Lululemon athletica is a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company with products that create transformational experiences for people to live happy, healthy, fun lives. Setting the bar in technical fabrics and functional designs, lululemon works with yogis and athletes in local communities for continuous research and product feedback. lululemon.com