Places to Visit: La Culebra

March 7, 2010 § 4 Comments

The head of the cobra at La Culebra

Well… this park doesn’t have a full-on watershed connection, so it may be slightly off-topic for L.A. Creek Freak, but I wanted to share a place I visited this week that readers might be interested in. It’s a beautiful public art park/space, located in Highland Park, a stone’s throw from the Arroyo Seco. I think it’s an example of how artists and communities can come together to create lasting beauful spaces – along our waterways and in our neighborhoods.

This past week, my friend Ramon Martinez and I were scoping out an upcoming bike ride. We picked up lunch at Galco’s and sat and ate at La Tierra de la Culebra – Spanish for the Land of the Cobra. La Culebra is a small park located at 240 S. Avenue 57, Highland Park 90042.

Mosaic stone seating walls, with trees and shrubs taking over at La Culebra

La Culebra was built in the mid-1990’s by Arts Corps L.A.  It was formerly a derelict vacant lot. Artist Tricia Ward worked with the community to clear trash and weeds at the site and to create a mosaic/sculpture of a giant serpent that weaves its way around the park.  Arts Corps L.A. worked with the city of Los Angeles to acquire the site, which is now a city park, though managed by Arts Corps L.A.

Here’s a photo tour from the head of the culebra to its tail:

With all of the recent rains, the place is looking very green. There are lots of trees – oak, olive, and quite a few I couldn’t easily identify – creating a diversely colored and textured canopy over the site. The trees are growing in well, compared to when I last visited the site 7-8 years ago. It gives the overall impression of the ruins of a Mayan temple being overtaken by the growth of the plants of the rainforest.

There’s a relatively new coffee shop, called Ghetto Grounds, that operates next to the site, so you can grab a cup of coffee and sit and contemplate the Tierra de la Culebra.

One more shot of the gnarled trees growing up out of La Culebra


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§ 4 Responses to Places to Visit: La Culebra

  • […] L.A. Creek Freak towards healthy Southern California streams, creeks, rivers and neighborhoods « Places to Visit: La Culebra […]

  • Nathan Green says:

    Joe, how are you? We met through an organization called CityLife. I brought a group of students to the Spring Street bridge community meeting. I am now working for ArtsCorpsLA/ACLA and your pictures make me weep. I wish it looked as beautiful today. But we’re back in the park to get it back to it’s former glory. Stop by some time and say hello. On October 6th we’ll be having a clean up day with music, food and art-making. It would be nice to see you again.
    Take care
    Nathan Green

  • Brenda says:

    I used to live here. They tore down the house I used to live in. I have pictures. I took my kids there to show them where I grew up

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