In the heart of the Watt/Willowbrook community, on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus, a first-of-its-kind Child and Family Well-being Center, is being built. It will include an array of services from a Pediatric Medical Hub Clinic on the first floor, to an Autism Wellness Center on the second floor, and a Family Justice Center on the third floor—all staffed by several Los Angeles County Departments and community-based service providers to maximize collaboration and service integration.
“This is a testament to our commitment to the health needs of our children and a brighter future for all of us,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
As part of this future, the multidisciplinary artist Floyd Strickland, who is leading the civic art installation at the Child and Family Well-being Center, has chosen to include the children of the Watts/Willowbrook community in his installation. Mr. Strickland, whose work is inspired by classical European portraiture, will paint a series of large-scale portraits to depict local community members, including leaders, youth, and residents throughout the well-being center. His hope is that by displaying portraits of community members in a prominent manner, visitors and residents of the area who enter the Center will see themselves portrayed in a way once exclusively reserved for the wealthy and powerful members of society.
To select who would be featured for inclusion in the artwork, Mr. Strickland and his team worked with students at King/Drew Magnet High School on an essay competition. The essay winners answered the following questions: What does the Watts/Willowbrook/Compton community mean to you? How can art serve as a vehicle for social justice and equity in your community? Why should you be featured in one of Floyd Strickland’s paintings?
“Today we are proud to announce the honorable mentions and winners,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said in a message to the winners.
The announcement included honorable mentions included Leyonah Jones, Jesus Carrera, and Antonio Carrera and winners Daniel Garcia, Aaliyah Casares, and Rosario Rosales.
“You stood out for your thoughtful responses and will now become part of a civic art legacy that will enrich the Child and Family Wellbeing Center and stand the test of time,” the Supervisor said.
“Congratulations to the MLK Child and Family Well-being Center Essay Competition winners and runners up,” said Kristin Sakoda, Los Angeles County Art Department Executive Director, in a video message to the winners.
In addition to being depicted in one of Strickland’s portraits, winners will receive a cash prize of $700.
The Child and Family Well-Being Center is the latest addition to the MLK Medical Campus, which includes the MLK Community Hospital, MLK Outpatient Center, MLK Mental Health Urgent Care Center, MLK Recuperative Care Center, and MLK Center for Public Health, MLK Medical Office Building, and MLK Behavioral Health Center.