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Scavenger Hunting for Culver City's Public Art

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In Culver City, the public art is sometimes so omnipresent it blends into the scenery--on purpose.

Integrating art into the everyday landscape, while honoring the city's history and giving visitors and residents intriguing--and sometimes interactive--pieces to enjoy is something Culver City takes to heart. To that end, they have designed a free, fun, and accessible way to explore the area and find all the pieces of public art.

A downloadable and printable map breaks down the general Downtown area into three walking tours and uses a numbered guide to point out where you'll find different pieces of art. If you've passed through Culver City you may have passed many of these by. What was almost surprising was how enjoyable it was to take a closer look at the environment, and to "discover" the various artistic treasures stashed here and there.

Joshua Callaghan's "Almost Invisible Boxes" were a delight to stumble upon. Utility boxes have been wrapped with vinyl prints showing the same scene in which you're standing, making you take pause to think about the quirky juxtaposition between image and reality.

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Equally as fun are the zoetropes by Wick Alexander and Robin Brailsford, which blend into the urban landscape--so much so that as I leaned into each one to spin the top to see the figures inside take motion, I noticed that people around me were surprised to see someone interact with what looks like a simple statuary or a more utilitarian part of the environment.

Other fun discoveries include the peaceful City Hall plaza, where you'll find Barbara McCarren's "Quotation Courtyard," among many more pieces of art, searching the rooftops for "Plato's Cup" b Jim Heimann, and watching people play in Douglas Olmsted Freeman's "The Lion's Fountain." The guide tells you what to look out for, and what each piece means, and really urges you to examine the art and take a closer look at what you may not have otherwise given a passing thought.

Besides the public art tours, which break into two shorter and close-by segments, and a third longer, more farther flung option, there are interesting buildings, like the historic Culver Hotel, tons of great restaurants (many with lovely patio seating), and a lot of history to absorb. Print out the map, head to Culver City, and have fun!