KCET'S Award-Winning Web Documentary Series, 'Departures', Launches New Installment Chronicling the Untold Stories of Highland Park

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Seven Weekly Chapters will Unveil the City's Cultural and Environmental Shifts, Artistic Revolutions, Economic Sustainability, and Recent Revitilization Efforts

KCET, the nation's largest independent public television station serving Southern and Central California, is pleased to present Departures: Highland Park, the latest installment in kcet.org’s award-winning web-documentary series. Launching Monday October 10, Departures: Highland Park will feature an intimate collection of interactive panoramas, first-person interviews, mapping tools and archival imagery that explores one of the oldest and most intriguing neighborhoods in Southern California.

Seven weekly chapters in this distinctive Departures series will delve deep into the history and current relevance of one of L.A.’s most historic and diverse neighborhoods. Its environment and proximity to the Arroyo has attracted a constant stream of settlers - from the Native-Americans to rancheros to East Coast eccentrics. The dynamic series will explore the people, the places, and the ideas that have made Highland Park a magnet for innovation, resistance and pride.

“Departures is an all-encompassing, community-driven experience,” said Juan Devis, director of Production & Program Development at KCET. “We’re excited to debut this latest installment which explores and defines the significant cultural and historical shifts of Highland Park, a neighborhood city that has left an indelible mark on the landscape of Los Angeles.”

KCET Departures collaborated with various individuals and organizations to produce the Highland Park installment including: Jeffrey Chapman, Director of the Audubon Center in Debs Park; Nicole Possert, Highland Park Heritage Trust; Outpost for Contemporary Art; Occidental College and Avenue 50 Gallery, among others. Historical images on the website appear courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library, University of Southern California Digital Library, The Autry and California Department of Transportation.

A new chapter will launch each week starting October 10. Chapter highlights are as follows:

Chapter 1: The Highlands
From Native-Americans, to rancheros, to the beginning of the arts and crafts movement, “The Highlands” chapter explores the numerous factors that allowed the area to mature as one of the preeminent cultural and social centers of Los Angeles.

Chapter 2: The Arts and Crafts Movement
Community leaders, artistic eccentrics, and those who were influenced by life “on the arroyo” pioneered perhaps the first artistic and cultural movement that emerged from Los Angeles. This chapter will explore the philosophy, practice and ethos of the Arts and Crafts movement until its ultimate demise.

Chapter 3: The Arroyo Sector Parkway
One of the nation’s first and finest freeways was the cause of celebration for the city of Los Angeles. However, after the scenic thruway was built, Highland Park began its gradual decline, and split between two distinct geographies and political powers: Pasadena and Los Angeles. This began the area’s transition from natural suburban Eden to an inner city enclave.

Chapter 4: Brown and Proud
During the 1950s, the pre-civil rights era where school segregation, manifestations and community organizing began to take shape on the east side, an articulate vocabulary of resistance and pride developed within the Latino and Mexican community that immigrated to Highland Park.

Chapter 5: Painting the Walls
From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, Highland Park was home to influential Chicana/o artist collectives. The work of these collectives on the Eastside housing projects of Ramona Gardens, Estrada Courts, and numerous other public spaces across the city ignited an explosion of Chicana/o muralism in Los Angeles, turning L.A. into the mural capital of the country.

Chapter 6: The Rise of the Inner City
The failed promises of the civil rights era coupled with the economic disparities of the 1980s created a dual deterioration in Highland Park and the concept of “inner city,” which gave rise to one of L.A.’s most notorious gangs, the Avenues. Gang culture in Highland Park generated a post-Chicano visual language, as graffiti culture, low-riders and gangster hip-hop took over the streets.

Chapter 7: Reinterpreting Highland Park
At the turn of the Millennium, Highland Park seems to embrace all the contradictions that history has presented to the neighborhood – a new Gold metro line traverses through the streets of the area; a master plan to revitalize and return the Arroyo back to its natural state is in place; a new and improved Audubon park takes nature back to basics; and a slew of artists, galleries and coffee shops together are making Highland Park regain its status as one of the city’s most cherish neighborhoods..

About KCET
On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET currently produces the Emmy®, duPont-Columbia and Peabody Award-winning SoCal Connected, a hard-hitting prime-time weekly television news program that examines the issues and people of Southern California. Throughout its 47-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. More than half of the funds raised to support KCET's operating budget come from individual support. For additional information about KCET productions, Web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org.

About KCET Departures
KCET Departures provides a 360º people-centric experience; is participatory in nature; and serves as a central nexus in people sharing, commenting, collaborating, and finding ways to be involved in their communities. These relationships are fostered offline and on by engaging community residents, non-profit organizations, schools and students, in the creation and procurement of relevant and relatable content. From development to production, the neighborhood and its community (the stake holders) are involved in the process of production, resulting in a tight knit between the aspirations of the local community and the station. Departures is a participatory platform, a series, and a network where people can convene information and ideas about our city and its people, and engage in the interpretation of the city that we live in. Departures is funded by The Boeing Company, California Council for the Humanities and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.


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