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The Garden of Oz

The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz

In 2nd grade, I played the lion in my elementary school’s version of The Wizard of Ozzzzzzzzzzz wherein we relayed information about insects via the timeless tale of Dorothy’s exceptional search for Kansas in a land of bees and termites.  We were in good company of word play based on the 1900 novel/1939 film.  The Garden of Oz is among said company in nomenclature, but it’s distinctly Los Angeles in experience.

Like Simon Rodia of Watts Towers, Hollywood Hills resident, Gail Cottman, has mosaicked her garden with glass and other found objects.  Like the mélange of heritage in Los Angeles, the Garden of Oz has multiple thrones paying homage to various figures from Duke Ellington to Hiroshima survivors.  And, like the Angelino sensibility of public life, the garden is closed off behind locked wrought-iron gates and is unassuming to the driver-by.

From the outside, one has access to “The Wall of Toys,” designed by Arthur Sellers  (one of 75 contributing artists), “A Throne of Your Own,” and a mail box where one can deposit letters to Oz.

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Brewery Arts Complex Carousel Horse

Brewery Arts Complex Carousel HorseBrewery Arts Complex Carousel Horse

Though the Lincoln Heights Piggyback Rail Yard has a boundlessly romantic mixed-use vision for the development of the LA River, there’s still something about a rail yard that seems susceptible to the grotesque.  So on a mission to collect a package from the UPS Customer Center in Lincoln Heights that borders the Piggyback Rail Yard, it’s fair to say I had a fleeting feeling in my belly.  This feeling made my encounter with this giant, seemingly abandoned tangle of wire all the more distressing.

It turns out, the Brewery Arts Complex – the world’s largest artist-in-residence community – also shares borders with the Piggyback Rail yard.  Artists have colonized a former Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery since 1982. This carousel horse on a shipping container is a marker for the arts complex, and though I went 26 years without knowing this complex existed, the horse effectively communicates its message to the passerby.

The Brewery offers biannual art walks, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming dates to get a peek inside this place.  Read more here: http://breweryartwalk.com/about

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