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Los Angeles

Obscura Society LA: Anarchy, Altruism, and Architecture in Barnsdall Art Park

Join Field Agent Mark Hayward on a tour of the Barnsdall Art Park in Los Feliz

Explore the world of feminist, radical, patron, and philanthropist Aline Barnsdall on the grounds of LA's modernist acropolis.

Barnsdall Art Park was originally a 36 acre olive orchard in East Hollywood known as Olive Hill. It was purchased in 1919 by Pennsylvania oil fortune heiress, Aline Barnsdall. Barnsdall envisioned creating America's premier experimental theater and arts complex at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. She hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design and build the campus of theaters, studios, shops, and residences at a time when the architect was shunned for his amoral lifestyle and flamboyant personality. Her residence, Hollyhock House, became Wright's first California commission and enlisted the assistance of the young Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra to complete the project. Barnsdall crossed paths with many famous personalities of the 20th Century including Norman Bel Geddes, Charlie Chaplin, D. H. Lawrence, H. G. Wells and Albert Einstein. In 1926 Barnsdall donated the house and property to the City of Los Angles as a park dedicated to the memory of her father, Theodore Barnsdall. Today the park is also home to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and Junior Arts Center and Gallery.   

This tour focuses on building exteriors and the grounds. If you're hungry for more afterwards, we highly recommend you take a self-guided tour of the Hollyhock House. Tickets cost $7 each and are sold separately onsite by credit card only. Photography is not allowed inside the house.

Notes for this adventure:

- This tour is being offered twice on Saturday, August 1st. The early tour is from 10 am - 12 pm and the late tour is from 2 pm - 4 pm. 

- Meet at the entrance to the Municipal Art Gallery to check in.

- Water and sun protective wear are encouraged!

- Free parking onsite.

- Go Metro! The park is a short walk from the Vermont/Sunset Red Line station.

Advance tickets only. All sales are final.