Famed Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the mastermind behind the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, has taken on yet another project in L.A. This time, it will be in our own backyard as part of the aggressive revitalization of the city of Inglewood.
Gehry intends to transform the existing 17,000-square-foot building at the corner of South La Brea Avenue and Manchester Boulevard, originally built in the 1960s as a bank, to create a permanent home for the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA). The youth-outreach program was established in 2007 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association’s music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel.
About 1,000 students across LA’s underserved neighborhoods are part of the program which provides intense musical training to the aspiring musicians who may not otherwise have the opportunity to afford such training.
“Thanks to the time I’ve spent with Gustavo, I’ve seen the difference that YOLA makes in young people’s lives. I’m proud to play my part by making spaces where the kids can feel inspired, and YOLA can open up the whole world of music to them,” Gehry said in a statement.
Named The Judith and Thomas L. Beckman YOLA Center, the plan is to create a central resource for an expanded youth orchestra and double the number of students it serves by 2022. Currently, the program has partnerships with a number of facilities where it holds instruction for the YOLA students, but this will be the first building solely dedicated to the program. The new center is expected to open in about two years.
The new Watts campus will sit near Central Avenue and East 103rd Street and will incorporate space for individual and group counseling, community meeting space, indoor and outdoor areas for afterschool activities, early childhood education and childcare, areas dedicated to youth development programs such as art and computer training, as well as expanded space for family support services and classes, according to the Institute.