Do Art Foundation Makes Their Mark at Runway Playa Vista

Several artists put their creative stamp on the multi-use building

Do Art curates public art projects around a site with the goal of engaging people in their surroundings. But don’t expect murals on murals—the organization works with a wide variety of mediums including sculptures and interactive pieces, too. They are known for bringing the most talented artists from around the world into their thoughtful curations, one of which has landed at the multi-purpose space Runway in Playa Vista. Carmen Zella, the creative director of Do Art, is an artist herself. We caught up with her to talk about the Playa Vista installation.

How did you choose which artists to participate in the Playa Vista installation? 
David Binswanger at Lincoln Property Company approached Do Art about curating a public art exhibit for Runway, a new multi-use development in the heart of Playa Vista. We discussed the vision of the project and the history of the site with LPC, conducted a site visit, and received renders of the landscaping and design palette. From there we assembled a diverse group of local and international artists whose work reflect urban innovation, vibrancy, and creativity and requested to-scale renders from the candidates we felt were best suited for the project and overall vision. Although all of the artists have their own individual styles, the pieces work together to create a unified public art exhibition for visitors to enjoy and for local residents to feel proud of. Runway’s art is anchored by Enagua, a 66-foot-tall lantern-shaped sculpture by prominent California artist Ned Kahn. Named after a Latin American garment that provides billowing volume to dresses, the ribbed chainmail structure is designed to move with the breeze that runs through a wind channel from the ocean into Runway. The sculpture was created in collaboration with Runway architect Scott Johnson to merge the art and the building’s architectural pieces.

Is there a shared artistic vision/theme for Playa Vista? 
The collection depicts the spirit of innovation at the core of the Playa Vista community and honors the history of the property, including an homage to Howard Hughes’ pioneering spirit. The content of each work [Daniel Bilmes’ mural of cranes, CS-Navarrete’s geometric takeover of the parking garage, German street artist CASE’s above depictions, DourOne’s mural of a dense cityscape surrounded by trees] is a tribute to the historical and contemporary culture of this area. While every piece has its own unique aesthetic style, each represents an aspect of Playa Vista—the region’s rich cultural history of aviation, its close connection to wildlife, and the inventive spirit of the Playa Vista community.

When people think of public art, they usually think of murals. But Do Art incorporates sculptures as well. Tell me about the importance of different mediums. 
With the developments of technology in art, proliferation of temporary and semi-permanent works, and an overall renaissance of public art in centers around the world, the diversity and range of possibilities is wide and increasingly diverse. Three-dimensional works afford a totally different perspective and can be incorporated into the landscape in a way that mural art cannot. Each medium—video art, sound art, performance art, sculpture, installation and mural works—can relate to a community and location in its own unique way, reflecting and, in some instances, creating content and aesthetic considerations that were not visually present beforehand. Do Art has an exciting array of upcoming projects that will ensure that contemporary and cutting edge artwork in a variety of mediums will be produced as we continue to encourage more cultural tourism for Los Angeles.

Do Art does some pretty cool stuff. What’s next?
We are looking to establish and develop a progressive portfolio for Los Angeles. We are working with cutting edge dance ensembles to stage pubic art performances in the Arts District, placing a large string art installation in Westchester, fabricating a very prominent sculpture at the heart of the Financial District, unveiling a progressive video art piece in Glendale, installing an interactive sculpture in the Fashion District, staging a large inflatable sculpture based on current environmental concerns, and moving forward with several monumental projects with our partners in the South Park District of L.A. all before the year’s end. We also have an incredible citywide sound art installation that is positioned for fall 2017 that will be a monumental addition to the Los Angeles community.