December 1, 2020 update: Today, with little fanfare due to the public health restrictions in Los Angeles and in full daylight, the lamps of the restored Vermonica were switched on by artist Sheila Klein. A proper celebration will take place when it is again safe to gather, and we cannot wait to see you there. (Here’s Spectrum’s SoCal Scene featurette about the relighting.)
What matters is that after three years in limbo following the artwork’s illegal removal, Los Angeles once again has its urban candelabra. You can visit Vermonica 24 hours a day, as a pedestrian or while driving on Santa Monica Boulevard, and you can take a Vermonica selfie with your favorite lamp poles.
As when it was first installed in the aftermath of the 1992 Uprising, this piece represents new hope and new light for Angelenoes, and don’t we need that now?
Here are a few scenes from around Vermonica as the lamps were switched on. What’s missing is the constant toot-toot of car horns, as passing drivers joined in with the celebration. East Hollywood commuters love Vermonica!
We hope you share our excitement about Vermonica’s rebirth, and that when you visit, you will share your photos of the landmark on social media using the hashtag #Vermonica2020. When there’s a date for Vermonica’s official celebration, we’ll announce it here and in our newsletter. Here’s hoping to see all of you, and your beautiful smiling unmasked faces—Next year, at Vermonica.
October 2020 update: Vermonica Returns! Beginning on Monday, October 19, 2020, artist Sheila Klein will be in East Hollywood to supervise workers from the Bureau of Street Lighting in the reinstallation of her beloved street light sculpture Vermonica at its new location on Historic Route 66. And you are invited to be there!
Vermonica is being reinstalled on Santa Monica Boulevard at Lyman Place, between Madison and Virgil, on the South side of the street. The street address is 4582 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029. This location is adjacent to the Bureau of Street Lighting office and streetlight storage yard, and two blocks East of the artwork’s original location, at the corner of Vermont and Santa Monica.
The community is invited to be a part of Vermonica’s history by documenting the reinstallation and the changing appearance of the artwork as the street lights are placed and illuminated, by using the hashtag #Vermonica2020 in their social media posts. Estimated completion date for the installation is November 6, 2020. Follow the transformation as it happens on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and visit the site to contribute your own photos and videos.
Following its unannounced 2017 removal, Vermonica is now a protected work of art that is a part of the City of Los Angeles collection. It has always belonged to Angelenos, but now it is official!
January 5, 2020 update: We’re delighted to finally be able to share the thrilling news that Sheila Klein’s Vermonica, the original vintage Los Angeles street light sculpture and cultural landmark (accept no imitations!) will once again be installed in the heart of East Hollywood under the direction of the artist. Her New Years Day Instagram post (below) let the cat out of the bag.
View this post on Instagram
Two years ago I received the news that Vermonica had been dismantled and moved. . A lot has transpired and one silver lining is realizing the impact and support for this work. . So many threads to this story- which I hope will be illuminated, disclosed and discussed. . Because of the continued sleuthing and inquiry by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper of Esotouric, a trove of emails were found that were damning to Bureau of Street Lightning and the city and therefore forced the city to do the right thing. . I have a contract to rebuild the piece on Santa Monica Boulevard near the Bureau with a hopeful opening in early May- the 27th birthday of Vermonica. . Hope to see you there. . More soon, feel free to share this news, I am hopeful. . Sheila . . . #sheilaklein #vermonica
Getting to a place where the city agreed to right this wrong took a lot of hard work by a dedicated crew who refused to accept the loss of the landmark as a done deal. When progress stalled, Adrian Riskin of government transparency blog MichaelKohlhaas.org uncovered a shocking tranche of emails that revealed precisely how a city department had violated Sheila Klein’s artist’s rights. To the city’s credit, they came back to the table to hammer out a deal that satisfies the artist and gives the artwork back to the East Hollywood community.
For us, the lesson of this 2+ year restoration and accountability campaign is clear: Never give up on the things you believe in, and let the light of Vermonica be your guiding star as you set out every day to be a good Angeleno and to make this city a better place for your neighbors and those who will come after.
So save the approximate date of early May 2020*, for a big party at Vermonica’s new, nearby location. We cannot wait to dance in the streets by the light of our beloved urban candelabra with Sheila Klein, music, tacos and YOU!
*update: Like so many things, Vermonica’s return has been delayed by the pandemic. We’ll keep you posted about progress on this restoration.