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L.A. artist sees billboards as platforms for elevated gardens

November 23, 2012 | 10:58 am

Green billboard
It's a sign that the demand for green space in Los Angeles might be reaching new heights.

That's the hope of artist Stephen Glassman, who has raised about a third of what it will cost to turn a billboard into a bamboo-sprouting open space he calls "Urban Air" above a city street.

The estimated budget for the first billboard is $100,000, a figure Glassman posted on Kickstarter, a public funding platform. Donations had reached $34,000 in a month.

Glassman and his team of pro bono engineers, draftsmen and innovation advisors have until Dec. 11 to raise the entire amount or forfeit it all.

If the funding comes through, Glassman said he would like to have the first arrangement of bamboo — chosen for its ability to attain great height with minimal root space — up by February. Although no location has been pinned down, he wants a billboard near a major Los Angeles freeway or a busy thoroughfare — the more chaotic, the better for stark contrast. And more opportunity to give drivers a sense of calm.

Summit Media, one of the largest billboard companies in the city, has already committed to donating at least one of its billboards.

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-- Corina Knoll

Photo: An illustration shows how artist Stephen Glassman would like to transform urban billboards into elevated gardens. Credit: Stephen Glassman.


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