The sign outside the Watts Towers Art Center | Still from "The Watts Towers Arts Center" ab s11 episode image

Shades of L.A.

It had just been a handful of months since Carolyn Kozo Cole had taken over the mammoth job as curator of the Los Angeles Public Library's then-2.2-million piece photo collection. The biggest challenge, though, wasn't managing the breadth or depth of its existing holdings -- a complex trove detailing L.A.'s speedy and massive growth -- its shifting skyline, the iconic architecture, the development of its signature highways. The dilemma was, in fact, confronting the vast expanse of what wasn't there -- the lives and stories of "other L.A.s" that had tumbled off into the margins.

p>For the next six years, Cole with the assist of Kobayashi, project coordinator Amy Kitchener and a quickly-assembled (and steady-growing) group of dedicated volunteers would seek to fill in the vital gaps in the story of Los Angeles. Cole figured, if the photographic history of these neighborhoods hadn't made their way to library by the usual channels (newspaper photographs, corporate or personal archive donations among them); the librarians resolved they would have to go to them, in that unwavering decision: "Shades of L.A." was born.

 

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

The Watts Towers Arts Center

The Watts Towers Arts Center was founded by artists and educators in the 1960s and has been a beacon of art and culture in the community for decades. This episode features the work of artists including Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, Betye Saar, Charles White and Mark Steven Greenfield.

Light & Space

In a world filled with noise, distractions and chaos, a number of artists seek to push the boundaries of perception and experience. The Light and Space movement of the 1960s explored minimalism with a uniquely Californian spin — with a keen attention to the interaction of light and space. Crucially, the materials these artists relied on to create these perceptual experiences emerged from the postwar aerospace industry and its advances.

The New West Coast Sound: An L.A. Jazz Legacy

Growing up amongst jazz legends within the deep musical traditions of Leimert Park, drummer Mekala Session and his peers grapple with how to preserve this rich legacy—striving to carry forward the tenets that took root in the work of Horace Tapscott and his Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. This is the story of Los Angeles’ emerging generation of community-focused black musicians.This episode of Artbound was produced in partnership with dublab and Storyform.

CURRENT:LA FOOD

In October of 2019 the city of Los Angeles through the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Institute of Contemporary Art organized a city-wide exhibition of public art and events based around the theme of food. Each artist interpreted a different aspect or issue surrounding food or food systems in the city from climate change, to food access, civic engagement to waste and recycling. Activating public parks throughout the city, artists created works to spark conversation about what it means to live in Los Angeles and how to work together for a sustainable and hopeful future.