Arts & Entertainment

Historic Filipinotown lights are getting a cultural makeover: Vote on the design

Design rendering by Celina Duffy
Design rendering by Roberto San Luis
Design rendering by Roel Punzalan

In an effort to improve public safety and highlight cultural heritage, Historic Filipinotown is revamping the lights at 18 bus stops in the community.

Historic Filipinotown was officially proclaimed a destination in 2002 by then-councilman Eric Garcetti and lays claim to the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines, Los Angeles  Public Works board member Joel Jacinto told KPCC.

The design for the total of 54 lightposts, which will be along Temple Street from Hoover Street to Glendale Avenue, can currently be voted on by the public as part of the selection process. Ultimately a committee of stakeholders including bus riders, Filipinotown residents, youth and others will take the public’s votes into account and choose the winning design.

Three artists with ties to Filipinotown created the finalists for the light designs, which illustrate three Filipino cultural constructs: "kapwa" meaning shared humanity and togetherness, "lakbay" meaning journey and travel, and "kapayapaan" meaning peace and harmony. 

“We’ve all traveled to this city of angels and what we want is to live in a peaceful area and have peace among the diverse groups,” said Jacinto, who was appointed in 2015 as the first Filipino member on the board of Public Works.

In total, the project will cost $625,000, funded by the Bureau of Street Lighting and Department of Public Works, under the public safety enhancement gas tax, according to Jacinto. LA Councilman Mitch O’Farrell also secured funds from the Department of Transportation.

To cut costs, the city will use available light poles and existing lights.

In addition to the cultural and safety element that the artistic lights will bring to Filipinotown, Jacinto also hopes they will boost the economy.

“We project more people will come to Filipinotown to Temple Street to visit businesses, to visit significant landmarks and places on Temple Street,” Jacinto said.

The public can vote for the three lighting design finalists on a city website until May 17. 

The city hopes to unveil the new lights in October since that marks Filipino-American History Month.