In the '80s, art has moved beyond museum walls and into the communities as never before.
Today, the public can enjoy accessible artworks in settings that range from county courthouses to community parks, from airports to shopping malls.
Following are 10 self-guided art tours around the Southland. Many of these are free or low-cost, and several sites have brochures, guidebooks or maps of suggested routes:
Santa Barbara County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara, (805) 962-6464. Built in 1929, this structure with its turrets and towers is considered one of Southern California's best examples of Spanish-Moorish architecture. Artworks inside the building include a variety of ornamental tiles and carvings; huge murals by artist Dan Sayre Groesbeck that depict Santa Barbara's history; large, decorative maps in the Law Library that show the county and the legendary "Island of California," and inside the entrance tower a ceiling that is a replica of a 14th-Century synagogue in Toledo, Spain. You can take a self-guided tour through the building and grounds; free guided tours are given Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m., Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. A 25-cent brochure is available from the information desk in the lobby. The courthouse is open seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
MacArthur Park, 2230 West 6th St., Los Angeles. Through the combined efforts of the MacArthur Park Community Council and the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, this park has undergone a beautification program, consisting of better maintenance and the installation of a number of public art forms. The murals on the band shell and on a park maintenance building were created by teen-agers from the surrounding neighborhood; those at the entrances to the Wilshire Boulevard pedestrian tunnels were done by Bob Zoell and Robert Williams. On the path next to the lake are three pieces of sidewalk art by Alexis Smith--two terrazzo-and-bronze pictures embedded in the sidewalk and a small bronze sculpture next to a bench. The clock tower in the southwest section of the park was created by George Herms; two ceramic-tiled pyramids are the work of Judith Simonian.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale, (213) 254-3131. The 300 landscaped acres here include a major collection of large white Carrara marble statuary, plus one of the world's largest religious oil paintings: Jan Styka's 45-by-195-foot "Crucifixion." This painting, along with a companion piece, "Resurrection" (51 by 70 feet), is shown daily on the hour, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A $1 donation is suggested. In the Memorial Court of Honor is a stained-glass re-creation of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper." The Forest Lawn Museum has American bronze statuary and a Michelangelo exhibit. The park is open daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
City of Long Beach Murals. Since 1985, the Cultural Services Division of the Long Beach Parks and Recreation Department has commissioned 19 murals for installation at various sites throughout the city. Some of the murals are: "Bay of Smokes" by Patrick Mohr and Sue Ann Robinson, at Long Beach Municipal Airport; Jane Boyd's "Days of Leisure" and John Sanders' "Seven Flyers," both at Bixby Park, 1st Street and Cherry Avenue and Slater Barron's "Home Run," at Blair Field, Wilson High School, corner of Park Avenue and 7th streets. "Mosaic Mural," created in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration art project, has been permanently relocated to a parking structure (Promenade at West 3rd Street, west of Long Beach Boulevard). The third annual Long Beach Art Expedition, a self-guided tour of artists' studios, museums, galleries and public art works, will be held June 26; it is sponsored by the Public Corp. for the Arts. During the week preceding the art expedition, there will be art openings every night throughout the city in honor of the Long Beach Centennial celebration. Contact Mary Sullivan at (213) 432-8708 for details.