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Rosten Woo and LA Commons, with photographs by Alyse Emdur
Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Arts Commission, 2013
Pages: 132
Dimensions: 6 1/2" X 9 1/4"
Cover: soft
Binding: perfect-bound
Process: full color
Edition size: unknown
ISBN: none

Our friend Rosten Woo, who has worked extensively with Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) brought us a copy of this book to look at when we were at the L.A. Art Book Fair. With it's beautiful design, great personal narratives by the people who live in Willowbrook, and sensitive and all around wonderful photos by Alyse Emdur (a Half Letter Press favorite!) we instantly knew we wanted to carry this book. It is an absolute triumph of design (with design work by Rosten Woo and Tiffanie Tran) and a stunning production with color images and backgrounds on every page and embossed text on the cover. And if all of that isn't enough, proceeds from the book benefit the L.A. County Library. What's not to love? Oh, and the entire book is bilingual in English and Spanish.

More information about the book from the L.A. County Arts Commission:

Project Willowbrook: Cultivating a Healthy Community through Arts and Culture is a creative exploration of the Willowbrook area that promotes future civic development through a cultural asset study and art-based public engagement. The project consists of two phases. During phase one, LA Commons and Arts Commission staff conducted stakeholder interviews, focus groups and surveys to discover cultural assets, artists, organizations, venues, programs, and artworks, that are unique to Willowbrook and adjacent communities.

In phase two, artist Rosten Woo engaged the community by going door to door in order to curate a Home, Garden and Vehicle Tour of Willowbrook in his project titled, Willowbrook is... The process uncovered sentimental architectural features such as a handcrafted fountain built by a resident using rubble collected over decades during the construction of the 105 Freeway. Whimsical garden decor was also discovered including a toy train set and collection of pet tortoises. The tour became an essential element to Celebrate Willowbrook at the MLK Center for Public Health on March 16, 2013 which showcased the people and traditions of the neighborhood. Community members were welcomed for an afternoon of local food, music, and art. Rosten’s work captures the pulse of the neighborhood through the artistic discovery of residents’ private homes, gardens, and daily lives. Information collected through this process and community gathering is organized as a tool that can be used by planners to understand needs of Willowbrook residents. Through artistic planning tools, Project Willowbrook facilitates dialogue between residents and city planners to create a shared platform for civic development in Willowbrook.

Project Willowbrook presents a new approach to community outreach for future County planning and development efforts. The project capitalizes on Los Angeles County’s over $600 million investment in health and infrastructure improvements in Willowbrook. Among these improvements are the renovation and expansion of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital and a plan to improve pedestrian connectivity between the MLK Hospital and the Rosa Parks Metro Station. The new MLK Hospital will also be the site of three site-specific civic artworks.

Project Willowbrook is made possible through the support of the Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and a generous award from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant which encourages collaboration between public and private sectors to strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, or city around arts and cultural activities.

Please visit www.lacountyarts.org/willowbrook to find out more details about Project Willowbrook.

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