SR 138 (SR 14) at Avenue M Interchange Community Engagement Project
Southbound | Northbound, led by artist Dani Dodge, is a community engagement project that will inform the public art program for the slated Avenue M Interchange updates. The goal of the project is to understand current values and perceptions by Antelope Valley residents; assess the their views of the local ecology and technological innovation in the region; and build a lexicon that will guide the project with the future in mind. Residents can participate by submitting their photography, poetry and/or completing a short thought survey using the links above.
Avenue M serves as the boundary between Lancaster and Palmdale, mostly known for its access to the California Poppy Reserve and the aerospace industry that has become synonymous with the region itself. In recent years, the route has symbolized an ideological boundary separating the two cities known to residents as “the cactus curtain.”
New leadership, however, has encouraged the dissipation of such boundaries between the two cities, making way for a new frontier filled with opportunities for civic engagement between Lancaster and Palmdale, unifying the region as a whole. This openness has led to the development of Southbound | Northbound — a community engagement project inspired by the southbound and northbound lanes leading to and from the respective cities.
The Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale have partnered together to commission the creation of two public art sculptures located on the Avenue M interchange of the southbound and northbound freeway on and off-ramps. With the help of the community, the goal of the project is to create sculptures that reflect residents’ view of the Antelope Valley, its two Cities, and the relationship between the two through a series of surveys and activation projects.
This community engagement art project is born out of the City of Lancaster’s Art in Public Places initiative, a city program dedicated to commissioning, preserving and expanding public art in the community. Through the creation of original public art placed throughout the region, the City of Lancaster seeks to foster meaningful dialogue, augment cultural awareness, and improve the quality of life of Antelope Valley residents.
About Dani Dodge
Dani Dodge is an artist who focuses on interactive art installations and public engagement nationally and internationally, including projects in Ireland and Greece. Her work that engaged the public at 2015’s LA Pride was named one of the outstanding public art projects of the year by Americans for the Arts.
Many of her works have been focused on and in the Antelope Valley. In 2017, she led imaginative public art events in Lancaster and Palmdale to engage the community in a dialogue about the personal and public spaces in which we live.
These included a project at the L.A. County Library in Lancaster where participants told Dani their life stories in 3 minutes and she created a title for them that was placed into a card catalogue, and later made into a book. Another public art event was held at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale. There participants wrote where they most wanted to travel to on paper, folded that paper into airplanes and flew through a painted horizon.
The same year, her solo exhibition at MOAH:CEDAR invited people to write their childhood memories on wood blocks and hide them in a shoebox under a bed elevated from the ceiling.
In 2019, she completed a yearlong residency in Lancaster’s Prime Desert Woodland Preserve that included monthly art activations. The art activations engaged the community in art projects such as illustrated haiku, cyanotype, and watercolor painting focused on the desert plants, animals and geologic features.
Through her art, Dani works to create engagements that expand people’s understanding of themselves and their environment.