Bringing Back Broadway

"Leopoldo Peña's photograph series, "On Broadway," documents the changes resulting from the "Bringing Back Broadway," re-development project launched in 2008. Headed by Los Angeles City Councilman, Jose Huizar, "Bringing Back Broadway," is a ten-year plan to revitalize the Historic Broadway corridor between 2nd Street and Olympic Boulevard which includes the first and largest historic theater district listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with 12 movie palaces built between 1910 and 1931. Although, the intention of the "Bringing Back Broadway" project is to generate economic development and to preserve the historic theaters and vacant commercial spaces in the district, the project has also caused a shift in the demographics of the area and have been seen by some as gentrification. Peña's work captures these changes by concentrating on the individuals who inhabit, work on and pass through the avenue on a daily basis. His aim was to accentuate the individuals, who from an economic perspective are seen as less functional and thus removable. By giving importance and attention to the everyday people on Broadway, the architecture, while visibly changing, recedes into the background. The photograph series was developed from 2008 to 2013 and closely parallels Peña's participation with the calls for immigration reform which inspired his weekly and eventually monthly, hours-long wandering around Broadway Avenue. According to Peña, the series had its beginning in 2008 with a photograph of a homeless person taken during an immigration reform rally, and its end in 2013 with an image of an immigration reform sign left behind on Broadway, which signaled to him the end of the immigration reform movement and the last frame of the "On Broadway," series."

(source: Los Angeles Photographers Collection : LAPL Photo Collection)