Down by the L.A. River

This past Saturday in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles about 60 passionate and dedicated citizens came together to spend an afternoon celebrating the LA River.  Our goal for the LA River Iconathon was to create new ways to visually communicate vital information about the river, and we’re happy to announce we were successful in accomplishing that goal.

In the months leading up to the event we worked with several river organizations to create a list of river-focused concepts that needed to be visually defined.  The list included everything from Dangerous Current to Urban River.  The workshop kicked off with a presentation from Omar Brownson, the Executive Director of LA River Revitalization Corporation.  Omar talked about the long term vision for the river, which includes some exciting buildings and parks that are planned for the future.  Next up was the legendary river advocate Lewis MacAdams, co-founder and President of Friends of the LA River.  Lewis captivated the audience with river stories from his past, and his dedication to the river was an inspiration to all of us.

After the presentations everyone broke into small groups to brainstorm how to best visually communicate each concept.  We were so impressed with the quality of the ideas and how passionate everyone was about working together to change the river in a positive way.  After the breakout sessions we had a group critique where we discussed which concepts best communicated each referent.  The sketches created during the event will be transformed into finished vector icons that anyone can download and use from anywhere in the world.

Through facilitating the Iconathons we have been amazed time and time again by how many people want to roll up their sleeves and create their own positive impact on their communities.  It’s easy to become disillusioned and disappointed in our world with all the bad news out there, but through grass roots events like Iconathons, that perception can be easily changed into one of hopefulness and endless opportunity.

We would like to thank Daniel Lahoda at the LALA Gallery for hosting us, Media Temple for providing a healthy lunch that kept our energies up, our speakers Omar Brownson and Lewis MacAdams for educating us about the LA River, Tanner Blackman and the City of Los Angeles office of Councilmember Jose Huizar and Nat Gale from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa‘s Office of Transportation for advocating for the event, Will Wright from the LA Chapter of American Institute of Architecture, Carol Armstrong and the LA City River Project Office, the fine folks of Mia Lehrer & Associates, and of course everyone that attended and took part in the event!

More photos of the event can be seen on Flickr.

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