Civic Art Scavenger Hunt FTW

"Pieces Together" at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

Civic Art in Los Angeles has a long and storied history. While some of it may be quirky, intriguing, or poignant, it all has a place of importance here in L.A. County. Find all 10 of these cultural hidden gems livening up our municipal spaces throughout the region.

"Muse of Music, Dance, Drama" (1940) at the Hollywood Bowl | Photo courtesy of LA Phil

"Muse of Music, Dance, Drama"

This is the Art Deco-style Muse of Music, Dance, Drama (1940) by George Maitland Stanley. Constructed between 1938 and 1940, it’s the largest WPA sculpture project created in Southern California. The crowning feature of the fountain is the Muse of Music, a 15 foot tall kneeling statue playing a harp. On either side of the fountain are two smaller 10-foot tall statues representing the Muses of Dance and Drama. The monument was fully restored in 2006. Can you find it? Clue: It would hold a ton of Ramen.

"The Short Life of John Doe (La Vida Breve de Alfonso Fulano)" at Centro Maravilla Service Center | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

"The Short Life of John Doe (La Vida Breve de Alfonso Fulano)"

Created in 1975 by Goez Studio, The Short Life of John Doe (La Vida Breve de Alfonso Fulano) is a three-panel mural. Each panel portrays a different scene along Brooklyn Avenue in Maravilla, one of the earliest settlements in East Los Angeles. The story of the changes to the community over time is told by an anonymous old man, John Doe, to his young companion.

In the first panel, they're resting in an open landscape with farm workers harvesting in the foreground. The second panel is set in the early 20th century and depicts Brooklyn Avenue as a busy thoroughfare. The third panel shows John Doe and the youth surprised by East L.A. in the 20th century, bustling with people and Spanish-style architecture. Where is it now?  Clue: A Famous Civil Rights and Labor Leader would know the Avenue's new name.

Fertile Minds aka “Books Bunny” at the Sorensen Library | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

Fertile Minds aka “Books Bunny”

Fertile Minds (aka “Books Bunny”) is a 2011 cast bronze sculpture by Gerald Heffernon that explores the themes of literacy and community through an anthropomorphic depiction of rabbits reading. The artwork promotes a passion for learning that can be passed through generations, and acknowledges the technological advancements that continue to change the way we discover, learn and communicate. Where exactly do these Rabbits read? Clue: If you're in Whittier, you can read there too.

"Subdivisions" at Lawndale Library | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission


Designed by Anne Marie Karlsen, Subdivisions (2008) was inspired by the building in which it is housed, and references mid-century modern design, especially related to wallpaper and tile patterns.  Karlsen also found inspiration from the painter Piet Mondrian and his geometric division of spaces into rhythmic squares and rectangles. The 20-foot high glass artwork is made up of eight repeated geometric patterned panels, which are intricate reconfigurations of historical photographs significant to the City. During the day, Subdivisions is lit by sunlight and can be read from outside and inside. At night the artwork is illuminated by interior lights. Find it! Clue:This library has great grass

"Pieces Together" at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

"Pieces Together"

Pieces Together (2014) was created by Lawrence Argent as a tribute to the legacy of Dr. King, the local community, and the power of the collective to affect positive change. In his design, Argent saw parallels between puzzle pieces and all the voices of a community. Pieces Together is comprised of 12 separate pieces, which are based on 3D scans of local residents' lips. The result is a monumental sculpture that's 18’ high, 7’ wide, 20’ long and weighs 110 tons. Whew, its not going anywhere! But do you know where it is? Clue: You don't have to go far for a band-aid.

"Inverted Landscapes" at the Zev Yaroslavsky San Fernando Valley Family Support Center | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

"Inverted Landscapes"

Inverted Landscapes (2015) is part of two public artworks designed by Elena Manferdini. Floating overhead is the 12' x 44' sculpture, which is meant to shift one’s point of view as it transitions between easily identified flora and fauna such as butterflies and ladybugs to bursts of pixelated color. Another artwork is located at the west side of the building. Here, Manferdini created a ceramic tile floor pattern and window treatment that anchors the design to the ground and juxtaposes clouds of hydrangeas, petals and butterflies into a skyscape. It's located in an atrium, but where? Clue: Area code 818

"Where We Are From" (2012) at Dockweiler State Beach | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

"Where We Are From"

Where We Are From (2012) is a 2,000 square-foot mural created by Mobile Mural Lab, a collaboration between artists Roberto Del Hoyo and David Russell. In the summer of 2012, Mobile Mural Lab presented two interactive events called Nite-Write. The artists lured participants to the nighttime events with glow in the dark paint and let people write their names, hometowns and favorite beach activities all over the Mobile Mural Lab truck, a former search and rescue truck with big blank sides. The details that were gathered informed the design of the mural, which was painted over several weeks. It was a truly collaborative effort - Del Hoyo and Russell estimated that 1,500 people participated in the events and the mural painting (or both). Can you find it? Clue: This street art isn't on the street, but you can catch a great sunset.

“Prevailing Affinities” at the Manhattan Beach Library | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

"Personal Archeology" & "Prevailing Affinities"

In 2016, artist Kathy Taslitz created two sculptures that connect visitors to the spirit of Manhattan Beach. Personal Archeology is a wall relief sculpture resembling kelp leaves that undulate up the wall and along the walkway. Words describing the past, present and future of Manhattan Beach are hidden in the pattern of the leaf-like forms. Prevailing Affinities simulates a bloom, or family, of jellyfish. Located in the skylight above the library stairwell, 18 bulbous figures, with their tentacles touching one another, embody the act of connection within the community. Where is it? Clue: You can't surf when it raining, so read a book

"Untitled (Historic and Modern Maps of California)" - Norwalk Library | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

"Untitled (Historic and Modern Maps of California)"

Created in 1969, these Ben Mayer murals consist of three parts: a circular mosaic in the interior children’s section and two large mosaic murals flanking either side of the main entrance. Outside, two mosaics depict California’s history and use maps to exemplify changes that have occurred over several hundred years. The third mosaic features a map of California as an island. So, do you have to take a boat to get there? Clue: Nope, you can Walk

"One Desert Sky" at High Desert Regional Health Center | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

"One Desert Sky"

Created by L.A.-based artist Brad Howe, One Desert Sky (2014) converts the voices of Antelope Valley residents into icons and symbols that the viewer strings together as the pieces move and intersect with one another. Representing a collaboration on multiple levels, the kinetic sculpture's 8,000 laser cut aluminum pieces were individually attached to metal rods, spray painted with automotive paint, and hand assembled by a team of six in Howe’s studio. The fabrication process took more than 3,600 hours. Where is it? Clue: Keeping healthy in Lancaster