Monday, March 18, 2013

What ONE SANTA FE Project (And Disney Hall) Can Tell Us About MOCA

Brigham Yen has an update on the construction of the largest  projects in Downtown Los Angeles - ONE SANTA FE; a project whose history can tell us a lot about MOCA

The photo shows you the massive scale of the project and the link above it brings you up to date.  Not mentioned in the post, however, is the long road this - like other major projects in Los Angeles - had to take before it could be successfully launched - or be successfully relaunched.

I heard about the project in 2003 and by the summer of 2004, a development team  had submitted a bid to the property's owner, the MTA.  But for the usual variety of reasons - construction did not start until last year  - 2012 - and it will not finish until late this year, 2013.  Ten years later.  And there were, as always, many who said the project was too ambitious and that it would have be abandoned or  scaled down.  But now its being built and its original vision is being maintained.

Ironically - 2003 is when Disney Hall finally opened a mere... sixteen years... after Lillian Disney made the first donation for the building.  And, again, during the years it just sat there - there were constant calls for the project to be dropped - or scaled back to something far less than its original vision.

But this time the original vision was not just maintained,  it ended up far exceeding what anyone had thought possible.  And that was only because a certain local patron of the arts - had stepped up and shamed the rest of the city's wealthy into joining him in funding what is now arguably the world's finest large concert venue with one of the world's great orchestras and one of the world's great conductors.

So - to all those who are asking us to forget the original vision of MOCA - after some bumpy years  - and are calling for it to be sold on the auction block to the highest bidder;  just remember Disney Hall.   And remember how many decades it took LACMA to escape the Natural History Museum and develop its own vision.  And remember how many decades it took that little ranch house that was once the entire Getty Museum to become what it has become today.

And then ask yourself - was the original vision for MOCA really so... meaningless.... that after just a  handful of  years of turmoil - it should all forgotten  - and abandoned - forever?

I don't believe that.  And if you don't think so either  - like I said earlier - just remember Disney Hall. And remember how its original vision was able to be saved.


Rula of the Free World said...

Excellent! I never knew this, and in a city with so much wealth and celebrity it should be easy to find someone to throw some dollars at it.

brady westwater said...

Unfortunately, Rula, when it comes to civic leadership in Los Angeles - not only is there no one else - other then Eli Broad - who has been willing to step up to the plate on so many different issues - and then write a check when it's need most - but when he does, the press attacks him for "doing too much".

Now there are countless highly generous people in LA who support medical projects (and he has donated billions himself to that cause, education (and - again he has donated billions to that cause, too) but few of them then also donate - much less donate - billions - to a wide variety of civic and cultural projects - much less take a leadership role in those projects.