Barnsdall Art Park

Founder: Aline Barnsdall | City: Los Angeles, CA | Project Type: overlook, cultural center
Date Visited: 11.27.12

Locations: 4800 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Size: 11 acre
Deeded to city of LA: 1927

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Located in the Los Feliz/Hollywood area on the crest of Olive Hill, Barnsdall Park is revered as an active community arts center, the site of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first designed structure in L.A., and for its sweeping views overlooking the city of Los Angeles.

The now-11 acre park was founded by Alice Barnsdall, an oil heiress with a penchant for the arts. Impressed by Frank LLoyd Wright’s work back east, she enlisted his help in designing her residence atop the park, the Hollyhock House. In 1927, she gave the property to the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department in 1927 with the intent that it be used for arts education and engagement.

Today, Barnsdall Art Park is jointly operated by the City of Los Angeles’ Recreation and Parks Department, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Department of General Services and is the home to a number of arts-related and architecturally significant buildings including: the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Art Center, Junior Art Center, and Barnsdall Gallery Theatre.

Unfortunately, the Hollyhock House was closed for renovations during my visit, but Barnsdall Art Park has its other charms as well: art pieces are embedded throughout the site; neat rows and grids of pines, eucalyptus, and olive trees delineate the spaces creating outdoor rooms; the wind carried the sounds of practicing musicians; and a grassy lawn perched atop the hill gave great, sweeping views out into Hollywood.

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