Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

Is Car Culture the Ultimate Act of Community in Crenshaw?

Is Car Culture the Ultimate Act of Community in Crenshaw? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Presented in partnership with Destination Crenshaw with generous support from Akieva and Martin Jacobs
Moderated by Heather Heslup, Director of Public Art Projects, Destination Crenshaw

Crenshaw Motors Ford. Majestic Pontiac. O’Connor Lincoln-Mercury. In the 1950s and ’60s, car dealerships lined Crenshaw Boulevard, ready to serve the neighborhood’s rising Black middle class. Cars and Crenshaw have gone together ever since. To this day, enthusiasts drive their custom lowriders to “the Shaw” most weekends, looking to show off sleek chrome details and roaring engines, and to take part in this long-standing social ritual. But can Crenshaw Boulevard remain one of the most robust cruising scenes in the nation—stuck between repeated attempts by law enforcement to shut down lowrider parades and a new California law seeking to protect car culture in Crenshaw and beyond? And in what ways have Black Angelenos used car culture to advance the idea of “Sankofa,” the African concept of retrieving valuable knowledge from the past to build the future

Artist and sculptor Charles Dickson and Destination Crenshaw founding lead historian Larry Earl visit Zócalo to discuss Dickson’s sculpture, “Car Culture,” which will be on permanent display in Sankofa Park, and how monumental public art projects and cruising scenes throughout Southern California can bring people together across zip codes.

6 PM: Panel discussion

7 PM: Post-event reception

Zócalo invites our in-person audience to continue the conversation with our speakers and each other at a post-event reception with complimentary small bites and beverages.

Zócalo Public Square values audience safety. During events at ASU California Center, as bag searches are not permitted, only clear bags (maximum size 12” x 6” x 12”) and small clutches (maximum size 8 ½” x 5 ½”) are allowed in the venue. Zócalo may be able to provide a limited number of clear bags to help accommodate guests. Questions? Ask us at events@zocalopublicsquare.org.

The ASU California Center is inclusive and accessible for all. A platform wheelchair lift is available at our main entrance via Broadway (ground level). Upon checking in for the event, please inform Zócalo staff if you need assistance, or contact events@zocalopublicsquare.org for additional information.

This program is made possible by a generous contribution from Akieva and Martin Jacobs.



What Connects Us? A new transit stop and open air museum in South Los Angeles invites a neighborhood, city, and world to consider Black history, Black art, and Black success—and the ways they tie communities together. Zócalo Public Square and Destination Crenshaw partner on a new program series.


ASU California Center Broadway
1111 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015

The Takeaway

What If We Saw Cars Like Rolling Sculptures?

The Automobile Represents an Engine of Possibility for Black L.A., Said Panelists at “Is Car Culture the Ultimate Act of Community in Crenshaw?”

Where Crenshaw and Leimert boulevards meet, the silver glint of artist and sculptor Charles Dickson’s “Car Culture” is beginning to take shape. One of Dickson’s largest public artworks to date, …