Education, Arts & Culture

Dinosaur Hall Opening at the Natural History Museum

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has been a long-time advocate and supporter of the Natural History Museum, spoke at the museum’s preview for the New Dinosaur Hall.[pullquote_right]”This museum is a county gem and asset not only to the Los Angeles area, anchoring the Downtown and Exposition Park neighborhoods, but really enriching the entire region,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. [/pullquote_right]

On July 16, 2011, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County passed the halfway mark in its seven-year self-transformation when it opens its all-new, 14,000-sqaure-foot Dinosaur Hall. Twice the size of the Museum’s previous dinosaur exhibits, the Dinosaur Hall will feature more than 300 fossils, 20 full-body specimens, an array of manual and digital interactive displays, and video presentations. It is designed to allow visitors to get up close to real fossils in a way that engages visitors with the discovery and research programs of the Museum’s own Dinosaur Institute, led by world-renowned paleontologist and exhibit lead curator, Dr. Luis Chiappe.

The world’s only Tyrannosaurus rex growth series, presenting extraordinary fossils specimens of the youngest known baby, a rare juvenile, and a remarkably complete recently-discovered young adult (Thomas the T. rex), will be one of the highlights of the new hall. Other standout specimens in the exhibition include an imposing new Triceratops; a Stegosaurus, topped by kite-shaped armor plates; the predator Allosaurus; a 68-foot long-necked Mamenchisaurus; and giant marine reptiles that swam the oceans covering what is today California. Two-thirds of the full-body specimens have never been displayed before. Those specimens that were previously seen have all been re-articulated into more dynamic poses.

[pullquote_left]”Where else sparks the imagination of young and old, takes us back in time millions of years, making the events of the past and discoveries of the present so vividly alive?”[/pullquote_left]

The Dinosaur Hall will rival the world’s leading dinosaur experiences for the sheer volume of individual fossils displayed; the size and extraordinariness of the major mounts, including the world’s only Tyrannosaurus rex growth series; and the transparent treatment of the science that surrounds these creatures — not as static, definitive knowledge but as a vibrant, ongoing investigation of mysteries solved and still unsolved.

The Dinosaur Hall is the latest component of NHM Next, a $135 million campaign that is currently transforming the Museum. Now at its midpoint, this unique public-private partnership has raised over $86 million — more than 60 percent of its goal. The Dinosaur Hall follows this summer’s critically-acclaimed, campaign-supported openings of Age of Mammals and the Haaga Family Rotunda. NHM will become an indoor/outdoor experience, with a new pedestrian bridge and car park in 2011; an exhibition about Los Angeles’ natural and cultural history and the Nature Lab opening in 2012; and in 2012 and 2013, 3.5 acres of urban nature experiences in greenspace reclaimed from parking lots and paved patios set to debut. 2013 will also see the debut of the Otis Booth Pavilion, a three-story, glass-encased entryway connecting the indoor and outdoor sections of the Museum, made possible by an unprecedented $13 million gift from The Otis Booth Foundation.

“I want to underscore the excitement that the County shares about this major exhibit and its potentially huge impact on visitors,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We are putting our efforts, our funding and significant investment and resources into supporting this institution in but it is also my hope that some young Angelenos, for whom the Natural History Museum become a favorite place to visit, will develop a life-long love of learning and science.”

About the Museum
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is located at 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90007, near downtown. It is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles, opening its doors in 1913. It has amassed one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history — with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. The Natural History Family of Museums includes the NHM, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits (Hancock Park/Mid-Wilshire), and the William S. Hart Museum (Newhall, California).

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas Announces Summer Literacy Programs in the Second District

Freedom Schools, an exciting six-week literacy and enrichment program for children ages five to 18 years old, returns to the Second District this summer.

The program, which begins this week, will host over 200 students. These scholars will attend summer school at one of four Second District sites: First Church of God in Inglewood; First New Christian Fellowship in South L.A.; Bethel A.M.E. Church in South L.A.; and Community Coalition at Foshay Learning Center in South L.A.

Established in 1992 by Children’s Defense Fund founder and children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman, Freedom Schools provide rigorous, quality summer and after school instruction to children in urban environments. The programming, which is both challenging and entertaining, is based on the belief that all children are capable of learning and achieving high standards.

Last summer, the Children Defense Fund Freedom School program served over 9,600 children in 84 cities and 29 states, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, worked with Edelman to introduce the program to the Second District last July.

The Freedom School curriculum includes reading, arts, crafts, dance, music, field trips, sports, and community service, all provided in a nurturing environment that fosters growth and development. Students begin the morning with Harambee, a time of informal sharing based on the Kenyan tradition of community, in which students read aloud, sing, cheer and chant motivational songs, announcements and recognitions, closing with a moment of silence.

Throughout the afternoon, students read from a selection of books chosen by a national committee based on the literary work of the country’s best writers and illustrators.

“This program uniquely integrates reading, learning, and civic engagement,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. ”These tools are essential to life and empowerment.”

The mission of Freedom Schools is to ensure every child regardless of race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or geographic origin has a healthy, fair, safe, and moral start to education, combing literacy, nutritious foods and a positive learning environment.

According to an evaluation conducted by Philliber Research Associates for the Kansas City Freedom School program, students not only improve their reading skills but gain a love for learning.

The program is rooted in the work of the Civil Rights movement, specifically the work of college-age youth during the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. Freedom Schools apply an intergenerational approach in which college students are trained as “Servant Leader Interns” who work as reading tutors and role models, motivating children to develop positive attitudes about themselves and their abilities.

Press Release (PDF)

Endangered Arts Internship Program Restored

A ten week endangered Arts Internship Program that has given more than 1,400 undergraduate college students the opportunity to work with a non profit organization has been restored through the action taken by the Board of Supervisors at the County Budget meeting.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas spoke to the 75 undergraduate student who received paid summer internships in the arts at the 2011 Arts Summit at City Hall in Pasadena.

“I commend the Board for designating $250,000 to the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program and making the internship program part of the County’s annual budget,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. ”Today the Board secured an investment in our youth and our economy by supporting a program which promotes innovation, leadership, and management skills.”

Since the expiration of federal stimulus funds in 2010, the Arts Internship Program has been in jeopardy of being eliminated from the County budget. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has championed the effort to restore funds for the program. Last year the Board of Supervisors voted in favor of the Ridley-Thomas motion which financially supported the arts program for one additional year.

The action by the Board of Supervisors today assures that the arts internship program will automatically be considered as part of the county budget each year.

“It often seems as though arts programs are considered a luxury but in reality these programs are essential to our youth and their development,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “Art is the gateway that allows many students to unlock their potential.”

The Arts Internship Program was created in 1999, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to provide internships for nonprofit performing and literary arts organizations. Undergraduate students receive on the job training and experience working in nonprofit organizations. As part of the program students are paid to serve as staff members, board members and volunteers in non profit arts organizations. Students take on leadership roles and develop business skills in order to work on seasonal and special projects in various non profit organizations.

Los Angeles County Summer Youth Employment Program

During the summer months, you will:

  • Learn the value of work.
  • Work with professionals from different types of occupations and careers.
  • Make new friends and professional acquaintances.
  • Learn valuable life skills that will serve you for years to come.
  • Earn a paycheck and feel proud about the work accomplished.
  • Work on interesting projects and assignments.

Click here to access the service provider’s locations

CONTACT

Phone:
213-351-5390

Websites:
http://css.lacounty.gov/summer-youth.aspx
www.dol.gov/summerjobs

Email:
summeryouthjobs@css.lacounty.gov

Leimert Park Village Book Festival

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas spoke to thousands of book lovers, families, authors, and fans  of all ages gathered in Leimert Park on Saturday, June 25, 2011 for the Fifth Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair.

2011 Photo Slide Show…

This year’s fair featured 150 celebrity readings, book signings, writing workshops, panel discussions, poetry readings, stage performances, and musical acts. Leimert Park Village Book Fair has hosted some of the national’s top authors and artists including Nikki Govanni, Ishmael Reed, Pulizer Prize Winner Douglass A. Blackmon, California Poet Laureate Emeritus Al Young, Antwone Fisher, Hill Harper, and Synthia Saint James, just to name a few. LPVBF also annually distributes more than 1,500 free books to fair attendees, including over 300 books to local foster care children.

This year featured former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine Susan L. Taylor, economist Dr. Julianne Malveaux, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-turned-author Isabel Wilkerson. Among the notable authors present was Sugar Ray Leonard promoting his recently published autobiography.

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair was founded in 2006 by Cynthia Ethusian Exum with the goal of promoting literacy and education in Los Angeles. The Leimert Park Village Book Fair was inspired by a project in February 1999 when Ms. Exum partnered with Our Authors Study Club, Inc. to present a ‘Festival of African American Authors’ at Los Angeles Southwest College. Its success in drawing 10 authors participating for an audience of 40 inspired the idea of creating an annual literary event. The concept of establishing a book fair in the community was further encouraged when Ms. Exum partnered with organizations Helping One Another Progress, Inc., Eso Won Books, the Leimert Park Merchant’s Association, and the 8th District Task Force Committee, and the office of Los Angeles Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, 8th District. Leimert Park was chosen as the host venue site because of its importance as the cultural/artistic center of the African American Community in Los Angeles.

The Inaugural Leimert Park Book was organized by a Planning Committee of over 30 persons including representatives from local schools, corporate/businesses, libraries, literary non-profit organizations, community organizations, and local authors, poets, and spoken word performers.

Today, the Annual Leimert Park Village Book fair attracts over 200 authors, poets, spoken word artists, storytellers, performers, and literary/educational exhibitor participants – and boasts an audience of over 5,000. Since its inception the Leimert Park Village book fair has grown in popularity and prestige becoming a cultural tradition and premier summer literary event. This year’s Book Fair will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2011, and everyone is invited this day of celebrating the written word.

More information is available at www.leimertparkbookfair.com