The City of Los Angeles recently hired its first artist-in- residence, Alan Nakagawa, as part of Mayor Garcetti’s plan to embed new creative energy into City departments. Mr. Nakagawa will work with the Department of Transportation focusing exclusively on Vision Zero, the City’s ambitious goal to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025. A critical piece to the strategy of getting to zero includes changing the culture surrounding traffic collisions, which are still often dismissed as unavoidable “accidents.”
Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation, realizes this potential of art to achieve this change. “Vision Zero is a bold goal: zero traffic fatalities by 2025, which will require conventional tools like engineering and enforcement, as well as unconventional tools like art and storytelling. We plan to infuse art into the design and function of the public realm to create safe, beautiful, great streets.”
Mr. Nakagawa’s training is in studio arts, sound, and public art. His most recent position was as a Senior Public Arts Officer for LA Metro, and his past experience includes working with hundreds of communities across Los Angeles and multi-disciplinary public transportation design teams. He is the first artist in the Creative Catalyst Artist in Residence Program, developed by the Department of Cultural Affairs to connect Angelenos with Mayor Garcetti’s vision for a safer, more sustainable, and dynamic Los Angeles.