Thursday, June 26, 2008

What is it?

This striking piece of art is on top of a two-story building on the southeast corner of 5th Street and Main Street in downtown Los Angeles. The building houses a shuttered convenience store called King's Market on the first floor. Go to the link for the Googlemap street view.

Although seedy and run down, the building has a 19th century charm, with its corner turret and bay windows running along the north facade, and ornate cornice pieces. Its blank windows hold no clues.

This article at blogdowntown this spring says the first floor will become the offices of a county homeless assistance program. It also notes that this area of 5th Street has a notorious reputation for drug sales and crime, and is known as "the Nickel".

Project 50, as the program is known, interacts with the homeless population on the street, and identifies 50 of the most vulnerable. Putting it bluntly, their mission is to help the people most at risk of dying on the streets. Program coordinators try to find housing and get them desperately needed medical care. This story in the LA Downtown News Online describes the program's accomplishments so far.

But what I want to know is - what is this sculpture all about? Against the sky, in spiky silhouette, it reminds me of the works of Kara Walker. Given the history of the building, and the challenges of Project 50's mission, I would not be surprised if the creator of this interesting piece is trying to tell us something as troubling and as thought provoking as Walker's work.

Does anyone reading this know anything about this weathervane?

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