Best College Sculpture Garden - 2011
UCLA's sculpture garden is nice if you like pretty, but if you actually want to learn something from your institution of higher learning's statuary, head for the Old Trapper's Lodge Statues at Woodland Hills' Pierce College. There, you'll see how the West was won: on a trail soaked in the blood of outlaws, Injuns and dance-hall whores. The aging cement statues are covered with crackled paint in lurid, unnatural tones, and their rebar bones jut out in places, adding to the unsettling effect. Folk artist John Ehn created the sculptures and "Boot Hill"–style cemetery tableau to decorate his motel in Sun Valley, but when that structure was razed to make way for an expansion of the Burbank airport, the statues were relocated to Pierce. Family members and preservationists saw Ehn's unsugarcoated re-creations of Western lore as a source of pride and successfully lobbied for California Historic Landmark status. No similar pride is evidenced on the part of Pierce College, however. The sculpture garden isn't marked on the campus map, and there are no signs to point the way. But wander the farm end of the campus long enough and you'll eventually stumble across them — hopefully before dark. 6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills; piercecollege.edu.