It's officially called the NoHo Gateway but it's also known as the Ugly Sign. You either like it or you despise it, and there's very few who are just ambivalent.
Many say the NoHo Arts District is a performing arts district with theatre, dance and music and "...the NoHo Gateway does not represent what we create in the district," says our anonymous North Hollywood resident. "And why did the artist put those silly figures and, worse, those balloons?" Some use it as a landmark and a meeting place like, “Let’s meet at the ugly sign” or “The theatre is right next to the ugly sign.” There has even been talk to nominate it for the world’s ugliest piece of public art. Another NoHo resident that wishes to remain anonymous says, “That’s fine. We’ll own the fact we have the ugliest piece of art in the world. It’ll be a tourist attraction at least!”
To be fair, there are people who seem to like it stating it’s colorful and fun. We've posted it to NoHo's Instagram as a poll and there are no accurate polling results. One day it's overwhelming HATE IT! and others it's LOVE IT! We’ve only met a handful of neighborhood folks who are indifferent, who shrug their shoulders and say, “It’s already up what can we do?” No matter what your opinion, it’s here to stay. So let’s take advantage of it.
A group of young artist exchange students from L.A. Cultural Exchange went to NoHo to take some photos, a dance class, and grab a bite to eat. They decided to take a selfie with the NoHo Gateway. So here’s the best spot to take it from.
L.A.Cultural Exchange young artists exchange students (L-R) Ines, Carmen, Zuzana, Sophie. Photo by Eric Haler.
Here’s how to take a selfie with the NoHo Gateway aka Ugly Sign.
- Go to 4872 Lankershim Blvd.
- Stand on the east side of the street.
- Make sure to stand on the south side of the sign. Why? This should have the word NoHo show up properly in your camera. The other side will show oHoN - NoHo reversed. See explanation below.
About the NoHo Gateway
The Gateway project was funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), which was dismantled by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011.
The NoHo Gateway was created in by Los Angeles artist Peter Shire who was chosen by a panel of community representatives and CRA staff. His design is supposed to reflect the arts district with characters constructing sets, operating cameras, and designing costumes for the entertainment industry. Other design elements are musical notes, balloons attached to a fence, and imagery connected to the area’s residential community and airport. The name “NoHo” is centered on the piece, which used to be illuminated at night. But there were many complaints of the light bothering the neighbors. When you pass through going north and you look in your rearview mirror you will see NoHo spelled properly. However, if you look at the sign from the north side facing south it says oHoN. It’s inverted so it will show up properly from your car’s mirror. CRA funded Shire with $290,000 to make his sign with $500,000 more granted for construction and installation. The NoHo Gateway was completed in 2009.
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