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Finding civic identity: a review of Sarah Schrank’s Art and the City: Civic Imagination and Cultural Authority in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles, once recognized solely for its orange groves and Hollywood glamour, has become a leading locale in the cultural art world. Author Sarah Schrank chronicles the events that shaped LA’s civic identity in her book, Art and the City: Civic Imagination and Cultural Authority in Los Angeles. Starting with the early twentieth century, Schrank illustrates how social unrest and political conflict dictated the city’s identity and art, even exposing how LA’s perception of minorities stipulated its freeway system. Oscillating between civic censorship and promotion, artists were often held captive by the current ethnic and political environment. From landmark schools to civic icons, Art and the City is a useful compendium for understanding the influences that gave Los Angeles its urban identity.
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Keywords: Los Angeles; Shrank; Watts Towers; art; censorship; city; civic identity; urban art

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Azusa Pacific University

Publication date: 24 August 2011

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  • The scope of the journal is broad and is aimed at facilitating a wide spectrum of perspectives. It is essentially a medium for engaging the rich and multifaceted process of learning and teaching art that takes place in the classroom, studio, and beyond. However, the seriousness of journal is not out weighed by making critical topics accessible and readable to a large constituency of readers. It is a forum to be reflective on the process of creating and teaching art, embrace teaching art in a variety of contexts, engage art appreciation experiences, share scholarship in teaching artistry, and celebrate the rich traditions of art making and teaching.
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