LOS ANGELES — Seventy-two stories above the streets of downtown Los Angeles, 15 LA artists have created original works in what might be the highest art installation in California.

Paloma Arciniega is one artist chosen out of around 60 applicants to create a mural inside the office space on the theme, “What does LA mean to you?”

(Spectrum News/Kristopher Gee)

“There’s a lot of artists in LA,” said Arciniega, putting the finishing touches on her mural. “LA is a dream maker, but it’s also a dream crusher.”

Arciniega’s mural depicts three musicians, showing not only the joys of music but also the despair that artists can experience in pursuing a career in the arts. For Arciniega, her portrait of Swedish multi-instrumentalist Gunhild Carling gives the mural an ultimately triumphant message.

“I think it’s very powerful just as a woman the way she shows up in front of a band of all men every time and she’s just like, [triumphant growl]!”

Arciniega said she was inspired seeing the other artists working around her, creating their pieces, which cover a wide range of topics, cultural influences and techniques.

Silverstein Properties, the New York-based real estate developer who took ownership of the U.S. Bank Tower in 2020, started the installation project. He has already been doing similar art projects in New York.

(Spectrum News/Kristopher Gee)

Melanie Navas of Silverstein Properties says the art installation is all part of revamping the building and connecting to the surrounding communities.

“Part of that was kind of reimagining what an office building means to people and that it can be a creative space,” Navas said. “Like arts and culture and dance and music can all come together.”

The U.S. Bank Tower is a commercial office building housing law firms, financial institutions and, as Navas explained, the average Angeleno has had little access to the view from the 72nd floor.

“It was really amazing to come up here, on the top floor nonetheless, and be able to paint and do their art up here,” Navas said.

For Arciniega, it has been an emotional experience creating work in a unique location along with other artists she respects.

“We all have that struggle of people don’t want to pay us, they don’t appreciate us and then suddenly, ‘We appreciate you! We want people to see this!’ It’s...I cried,” she said with a smile.

(Spectrum News/Kristopher Gee)