Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NoHo Gets A Gateway!

So what is the first thing you think of when you think of North Hollywood? Is it the amazing theaters, galleries and performance studios? Is it the Metro stop? The NoHo Commons with yummy food and the great HOWS Market? Whatever it might be, now you can add another thing to your list - the NoHo gateway...

On Thursday July 9, 2009 the North Hollywood community and the CRA/LA (Community Redevelopment Agency) of Los Angeles celebrated the grand opening of the NoHo Gateway with the artist Peter Shire, Council Member Tom LaBonge, and those who had a role in the creation of the project. The NoHo Gateway is the first of three public art projects that are being done in celebration of the North Hollywood project area turning 30 years old. All of these public art pieces and other refurbishments will help distinguish the NoHo Arts District and bring new life and excitement to the area.

The NoHo Gateway project started in 2000 and became a unique collaboration between the artist, Peter Shire, and the community who was able to vote on the overall design. The gateway sign is made up of metal circles and characters that are depicted doing different artistic things. What the sign is suppose to represent is a behind-the-scenes look at the entertainment industry. Hence, some figures are taking pictures while others appear to be busily working on sets or costumes. The story itself is rather intriguing and fun! These touches are something only Peter Shire can bring to the table, including the back of the sign reading “oH oN” so that in the drivers rear view mirror they will see “No Ho,” a rather clever idea.

At the event it was very nice seeing the community members, business owners and those involved with the project come together in celebration of not only the gateway, but NoHo itself and its art and the magnificent changes that the area has experienced over the decade. And the changes really are amazing. It was fun to see the neighborhood involvement; HOWs Grocery store donated food to the event, allowing the neighborhood to virtually step out into their front lawns to eat and enjoy the festivities.

One of these festivities was a swag booth from CRA/LA featuring NoHo stickers, colorful pens, calendars and postcards that promoted other public art projects. They also handed out information on the NoHo Gateway, NoHo turns 30, and different activities in the area such as the “Historic Walking Tour of North Hollywood” (if you are interested in this event call 818-909-4729). There were several event speakers, including Councilmember Tom LaBonge who addressed the great changes in the area and those changes still to come while introducing the artist himself who spoke of his experience doing the project. And, of course, the most anticipated event was the lighting of the Gateway that began with a dramatic countdown and a few heart stopping moments when there was a pause between the flipping of the switch and the actual lighting.

This was a fun event inaugurating the gateway which leads you in to the center of the NoHo Arts District and is really something worth seeing!


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