For years, Reseda Boulevard has been thought of little more than a mid-valley freeway used only to get from the north valley to the south valley, but the community of Northridge knows that the section of Reseda that runs through their neighborhood could be much, much more. And like many of L.A.’s great streets, it’s on its way – the L.A.’s first parking-protected bike lane was created on Reseda in April, and as local artist communities bloom, creative valley pride is growing exponentially.
“I think really it has the potential to be the center of the community,” says Nicole Bernson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Council District 12. “We would like people to gather there and really spend time lingering there, and make it a place that brings people together. The only university in the San Fernando Valley is located just around the corner. It also features a world-class performing arts center. And the thing that we heard most from people was: ‘it’s a beautiful facility, but we have no place to go to eat beforehand or afterwards.”
In other words, the bones are all in place. What Reseda needs now, say Bernson and Park, is programming. Attention. Awareness. Imagination. Nothing a little elbow grease can’t do.
To that end, Bernson and her colleagues, as well as many neighborhood partners, are hard at work on a series of three events slated for this fall, to call attention to all that Reseda has to offer, and to reimagine it. They’ve even got a local design company at work on some innovative, modular, custom flex furniture for the events. “What we asked for was something modular and affordable,” explains Bernson, “so that it could be used in any number of settings, as either a quasi-stage or a little pop-up art gallery, or as a backdrop for a product demonstration for some of the businesses along the Boulevard.”
So, then. The stage will soon be set. Here’s what you’re likely to find happening there, come fall:
What to expect
- More green: the organizers are working with the local bureau of sanitation to create a native landscape that will be not only drought tolerant but would also capture some storm water, or urban runoff, to recharge the aquifer.
- ART! “It’s unbelievable how much art can change a community,” says Bernson. A veteran of art walks, she should know. The Museum of The San Fernando Valley, a major partner in this project, are hugely active in the local art scene. “They have a public art initiative, and throughout the year they’ve done art walks, they’ve done murals, they’ve done talks with artists. They have a connection with Kent Twitchell, who’s a really, really big mural artist in L.A. and worldwide. We also are looking forward to working with a woman named Maria who does Balinese shadow art.” There’ll also be a strong print artist presence, thanks to a partnership with education-focused Valley Print Studios. “There’s kind of a big movement in the Valley right now for getting Valley recognition for Valley artists,” explains Bernson’s colleague, Semeee Park, Legislative Deputy for District 12.
- An awesome, placemaking scavenger hunt. Scavenger passbooks be available for you when you arrive at Reseda, and they’ll send you to various restaurant tastings, art installations, etc – once you’ve gotten 20 of the 30 available stamps in your passport, you’ll qualify to enter the raffle. Prizes will be nothing to sniff at, and may include brand new bikes.
- GOOD GRUB. Most restaurants along this stretch of Reseda will be offering tastings.
For more information, and to check out a fun video about the series of events, visit REvisit REseda Boulevard’s ioby campaign page. With $10,000 in grant money from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative, over $4,500 raised via ioby so far, and about $1,300 left to go, they’re in great shape. Jump in and get involved. You know you want to see Balinese shadow art; this is your chance!