The City of West Hollywood completed its application screening process for the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program. A list was released of the first set of 21 signage projects awarded in concept as part of the merit-based program. The goal of these projects is to contribute to a new generation of advertising on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood – one that preserves the past, celebrates the culture of the strip, supports artistic expression, rehabilitates existing buildings, generates new pedestrian-oriented development, and creates signage that is creative and integrated into architecture, with advertising content as its own form of art.
A downloadable Top-Scoring Project Report document (PDF) and Media Kit (ZIP) is available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at weho.org/sunsetdigital. The report contains detailed profiles, photos, and descriptions of the following featured top-scoring applicants and the types of signage they have proposed:
9157 Sunset – Streamlined Arbor
9101 Sunset – Hand & Phone (Love Wins)
9015 Sunset – The Rainbow
8901 Sunset – The Whisky
8830 Sunset – Sunset Urban Theater
8760 Sunset – Mutato Muzika
8743 Sunset – Invisible Frame
8730 Sunset – The Sunset Worl
8501 Sunset – Suncienega Revivial
8497 Sunset – The Now
8433 Sunset – The Comedy Store
8301 Sunset – The Source
8240 Sunset – The Harper
9200 Sunset – 9200 Sunset
9169 Sunset – The House on Sunset
9009 Sunset – The Roxy
These projects represent innovative collaborations between notable architects, artists, designers, media, and signage companies.
Notable architects include: Eric Owen Moss (The Source, 8301 Sunset Blvd.), Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA] (Hand & Phone (Love Wins, 9101 Sunset Blvd.), RCH Studios (The Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd.), Office Untitled (Invisible Frame, 8743 Sunset), and Mithun|Hodgetts + Fung (The Now, 8497 Sunset)
Artists include: Alex Isreal (Hand & Phone – Love Wins), 9101 Sunset Blvd), Mark Mothersbaugh (Mutato Muzika, 8760 Sunset Blvd.), and Refik Anadol (The Now, 8497 Sunset Blvd.).
A significant aspect of the updated Sunset Arts & Advertising Program is the expected public benefits that any approved advertising project would bring to the Sunset Strip and the City of West Hollywood. If approved, the top-scoring projects would bring historic preservation, building improvements, public space improvements, arts and civics programming, and revenue sharing to the City:
Historic & Cultural Preservation:
Five (5) buildings have been directly selected to become designated as City cultural resources as part of the program. Another 5 have taken part in the program and will use advertising revenue for the ongoing maintenance and upgrades to historic and culturally significant buildings. This includes iconic venues such as the Whiskey, Roxy, Rainbow, and Comedy Store. Others include Gil Turner’s (9101 Sunset), The Beauty Pavilion (8760 Sunset), Constance Bennett Building (8743 Sunset), Burman Furs Building (9069 Sunset), 9157 Sunset, and Piazza del Sol (8439 Sunset).
In order to qualify, projects either needed to propose significant building renovations, make substantial façade upgrades, and/or undergo required seismic building upgrades. Fourteen (14) of the projects will include varying degrees of building upgrades that will enhance the Sunset Strip and breathe new life into these buildings. Three (3) ground-up new development projects are proposed with the program and mark a major investment for Sunset Boulevard (The Harper, 8240 Sunset; The Source; 8301 Sunset; and The Now, 8497 Sunset Blvd).
Public Space Improvements:
These projects include new and improved enhancements to the public realm, including a new outdoor public gathering space as part of the Sunset Urban Theater, landscaping improvements at the Comedy Store, new parklets, and new outdoor seating. These will provide beautification, places to gather, and views to the public art and advertising projects.
Arts Programming and Civic Announcements:
Each project will contribute to a new digital arts program and can be utilized for civic announcements. The digital signs will dedicate 17.5% of operational time (91,980 minutes per year) to art and/or civic announcements. Each new sign shall include a monetary contribution that will include funding for City’s arts programming, such as curator and artist fees. The West Hollywood Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission will review and approve the arts program, in accordance with the Commission’s established guidelines for public art programming. This coordinated program will create an outdoor digital arts experience along the entirety of the Sunset Strip with art display at the top of every hour and at other set times – such as at sunset each day and during coordinated events. Many of the projects incorporate artwork as well.
Revenue Sharing with the City:
Each project is a partnership with the City of West Hollywood and will include a share of revenue dedicated to the City. Additional funding is required for arts curation and improvements to the public realm. A digital sign can bring in at least six times the revenue of a typical static sign. If approved, these projects will bring in a steady stream of annual revenue to the City in order to provide vital services and infrastructure to the West Hollywood community.
This new generation of signage strives to integrate art, advertising, and architecture in order to drive positive land use outcomes. New development, building renovations, historic preservation, and/or public space creation are a part of each of these projects. Each project also will adhere to the high standards the City places on sustainable outcomes, with green energy use and adaptable designs to ensure projects of lasting value. In addition to these positive outcomes, these signs will act as good neighbors. Strict controls on the operation and the requirement for best-in-class technology will curb brightness and distraction for the Strip’s pedestrians, drivers, businesses, visitors, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
These new sign formats and shapes will demand bespoke and dynamic advertisements unique to the Strip. Each new sign will also contribute a significant amount of time for a coordinated digital public art program.
On April 1, 2019, the West Hollywood City Council adopted an update to off-site advertising signage policy for Sunset Boulevard. As requested by the West Hollywood City Council, all potential projects were screened for design excellence prior to being allowed to file an official application with the City. That screening opportunity concluded on November 4, 2019, and resulted in 43 applications received by the City. The City Manager then selected a representational group of experts from the fields of architecture, urban design, advertising, digital sign technology, arts, media, and historic preservation to evaluate the proposals. The newly-formed seven-member Design Excellence Review Committee began its review in December 2019 and concluded in May 2020.
Each screening application was independently reviewed and scored based on 33 specific criteria related to design quality, economic development, public benefit, sustainability, and adaptable design, which were formulated based on the off-site advertising signage policy’s adopted design principles. Once the seven members of the Design Excellence Committee members finished scoring, the scores for each application were averaged and then sorted from highest to lowest.
For more information about the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program, please contact Bryan Eck, Senior Planner for the City of West Hollywood, at (323) 848-6858 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.