Our Neighborhood—CWI's Summer WEST Institute
About Our Location
CWI's Summer WEST takes place at Otis College of Art and Design, as part of a public engagement partnership effort between our organizations. Otis College of Art and Design is a highly innovative national leader in art and design education, with particular emphasis on community focused art. Otis College's international recognition includes The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for Otis College's commitment to “Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships,” which includes offering a state of the art MFA in Public Practice.
Our location is immediately adjacent to the city of Los Angeles, a world center of business, communications, the arts, entertainment, and technology. Summer WEST provides an ideal setting for professional development, close in to the multitude of arts and cultural destinations along with the many neighborhoods that make Los Angeles truly one of the most most dynamic and diverse cities in the world.
Hotel Accommodations—Discounted CWI Rates Available
Our hotel partner is The Custom Hotel. Hotel accommodations are made separately from CWI's Summer Institute registration process. Discounted accommodations are available. Rooms at the Custom Hotel are $139/night plus taxes.
Most participants will stay at The Custom Hotel, so it will be very easy to connect with new found Institute colleagues who share your passion for the work. To RESERVE a room at the Custom Hotel call 310-258-5715.
The Custom Hotel-LA is a newly renovated LA chic boutique hotel. The hotel was originally built by mid-century architect Welton Beckett, designer of the world-famous Capitol Records building. Custom Hotel rooms come with complimentary wireless high-speed internet access. The hotel features: an outdoor pool; adjacent lounge and sundeck, cabanas and firepit; 2 fitness centers; laundry and dry cleaning service; use of printers in business center; a pet friendly policy; and secure valet parking at discounted fee.
Los Angeles Area Arts and Cultural Attractions
Los Angeles County is home to 841 museums and art galleries. Los Angeles leads California's cultural growth, with more museums per capita than any other city in the nation. Among the new facilities and institutions are the Getty Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Center Theatre Group are among the nation's largest and most respected companies in their disciplines.
The Neighborhood—Getting Around Beyond the Institute
The Custom Hotel is located just to the west of downtown Los Angeles in the neighborhood of Westchester, which sits atop the Del Rey Hills also known as the Westchester Bluffs. The Westchester community is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Playa del Rey on the west. Westchester is a small residential neighborhood, just south of Venice Beach and Santa Monica, with many restaurants, cafes, several upscale grocery stores, and a retro bowling alley Eldorado Lanes. From Westchester you can be in Venice Beach in fifteen minutes or in Hollywood within a half hour. local maps [click for map]
Local transportation around the Los Angeles area are available through Custom Hotel's limousine service. Individuals or small groups may reserve Custom Hotel's limousine/van partner for fee based evening trips to nearby destinations such as downtown Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Pasadena. (contact Custom Hotel for details)
Featured Local Educational Partners
Otis College's Public Practice Program—Engage the World
Public practice—also called participatory art, community art, public art, situational art or social sculpture—consists of media including video, performance, drawing, photography, sculpture and web-based projects. The Public Practice MFA program at Otis College of Art and Design, under the leadership of Suzanne Lacy, the renowned artist, educator, theorist of socially engaged public art and author, prepares students to re-invent traditional media-specific ways of thinking about art making. Los Angeles--global center of public practices by artists and collaborative groups—is its dynamic setting. Students are encouraged to find themselves as emerging professionals within this vast human and spatial geography. An Interview with Suzanne Lacy about the Crystal Quilt project at Tate Tanks, fall 2012
The only educational program in the Southern California region dedicated exclusively to providing artists with advanced skills for working in the public sphere, Otis' Public Practice Program focuses on both collaborative and individual art production. Entering students design a unique educational plan to fit their interests, with the latitude to experience both community and studio contexts. Students start with a collaborative project—one that results in an exhibition or public presentation—led by artists such as Andrea Bowers, Suzanne Lacy and Rick Lowe. They meet and interact with recognized professionals such as Mel Chin and Sam Durant, and network with artists, critics and curators from around the world. Students travel individually or as a group as part of their curriculum, exploring cultures as diverse as a small farming town in the San Joaquin Valley or hurricane-ravaged New Orleans. learn more
Each student’s learning plan includes a menu of skills classes in different art media, theories of public practice, and internships with artists such as Kim Abeles. Their self-defined curriculum provides opportunities for one-on-one studies with artists such as Rachel Rosenthal, and L.A. Urban Rangers. The full range of Otis shops, faculty, courses, and library is available for students' production. Recent exhibitions include "Love in a Cemetery" at the 18th St Arts Center, and "Actions and Conversations.”
SPARC Social and Public Art Resource Center
We highly recommend exploring SPARC The Social and Public Art Resource Center. SPARC, one of the most important educational and cultural resources in Los Angeles,is located in nearby Venice. Founded in 1976 by muralist Judith F. Baca, painter Christina Schlesinger, and filmmaker Donna Deitch. The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) is an arts center that produces, preserves and conducts educational programs about community based public art works.
SPARC espouses public art, particularly community murals, as an organizing tool for addressing contemporary issues, fostering cross-cultural understanding and promoting civic dialogue. Working within this philosophical framework, SPARC has created murals and other forms of public art in communities throughout Los Angeles and increasingly in national and international venues. One of SPARC's latest projects is a collaboration between Miguel Contreras Learning Center High School students and UCLA students to produce a new 18ft x 33ft Digital Mural for permanent placement in downtown LA. The project involves creating a mural commemorating the legacy of Mexican-American labor leader Miguel Contreras while visually representing the issues affecting the students of the Center who come from the local area. more
A River Runs Through It: Sustainability in Real Time In Los Angeles
During the Institute we will take an inspiring look inside a long term project that has gained incredible momentum and support in arelatively short time period, with huge implications for place based education, service-learning, community building, and quality of life in the Los Angeles area.This is real life as a parable with large implications and inspiration for any community large or small. We will be be joined by our partner educators from Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR), a non-profit organization founded in 1986, whose mission is to protect and restore the natural and historic heritage of the Los Angeles River and its riparian habitat through inclusive planning, education and wise stewardship. Once home to steelhead and grizzlies, the Los Angeles River meandered through wetlands, marshes, willow, alder and sycamore, providing desperately needed water for the region. Now running over 50 miles long—from the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley to the ocean in Long Beach— the Los Angeles River flows through the heart of Los Angeles, as well as 14 cities and countless neighborhoods. When the Army Corps of Engineers initiated a flood control project in the late 1930′s, they began the process of concrete paving 80% of the River, creating the world’s largest storm drain. Over the ensuing decades, the River that had been the sole water supply for the City of Los Angeles before the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in 1913 almost disappeared from public consciousness. With the cement came a perceptual shift: the River no longer existed. Instead, it was a “flood control channel,” a no-man’s land, surrounded by fences and signs. That is now changing rapidly with support of many organizations, students, teachers, and community members. There are many lessons in this process for any school or community attempting change on a micro or macro level. watch video