The Barnsdall Art Park owes its existence to a feminist and socialist radical.
Oil heiress Aline Barnsdall was a close confidant of the anarchist writer Emma Goldman, supporter of Upton Sinclair’s presidential candidacy and a patron of the arts. Like other wealthy Angeleno’s at the time, Barnsdall had a vision of creating a public art center for the benefit of all. In fact, many of the cultural institutions we enjoy today is the result of the largess of the early 20th century’s one percent, including Griffith Park, the Hollywood Bowl and the John Anson Ford Theatre.
To help her fulfill her dream, Barnsdall enlisted the help of the legendary architect, with a notorious personal life of his own, Frank Lloyd Wright. She found her ideal location on a bucolic knoll in Los Feliz known as Olive Hill and broke ground in 1919. There were many fallings out between the headstrong Barnsdall and the famously cantankerous architect over design issues and cost overruns. Nevertheless, the project was completed in 1921. Barnsdall named the residence Hollyhock House after her favorite flower.
Barnsdall was also an early supporter of modernist architects Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra, both of whom went on to create the clean, simple style that is now associated with mid-century design. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Aline Barnsdall is a major reason we have so much modernist architecture in Los Angeles today.
As a true cultural center, the Barnsdall Art Park is home to numerous facilities including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre.
Programming and events at the Park include their popular Friday Night Wine Tasting during the summer months, outdoor movies as well art exhibitions and events.
Most are familiar with Barnsdall Art Park because of the residence. The Hollyhock House is an early example of the Wright’s Mayan block style later used in the Ennis House in the Los Feliz hills. The home suffered damage in the 1994 earthquake and was closed to the public for many years. The property reopened to the public after extensive renovations. The Hollyhock House is registered as National Historic Landmark as well as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For tour schedules, visit Hollyhock House Tours
Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
The Park is also home to a 299-seat proscenium theater for dance, music, spoken word and other performances. It is available for rental.
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG)
The 10,000 square foot gallery is a more recent addition to Barnsdall. The Gallery is very active in the LA art scene hosting 6 large exhibitions a year featuring the work of local emerging artists.
- This weekend, it’s Bowie Tribute Night with a screening of Ziggie Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
- Barnsdall Arts Free Family Art Workshop, September 4, 2016
- Currently at LAMAG: A Thematic Community-based Biennial Featuring Work by 300 Artists, through September 18, 2016
- Coming to LAMAG: Democracy, Citizenship, Freedom, October 16, 2016 through January 8, 2016
Barnsdall Art Park
4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Feliz, 90027
Barnsdall Art Park