Summer camp gives students lessons in architecture, design with focus on Exposition Park's future

EXPOSITION PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A local summer camp is hoping to get more kids interested in architecture by highlighting the anticipated opening of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park.

The camp is put on every year by the Southern California chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, or NOMA.

"There are already three existing museums in the park and with the addition of Lucas, there will be four museums in this park. We wanted our campers to participate in what that park will end up looking like," said Eletrice Harris, SoCal NOMA director.

Middle school students get to work directly with professional architects, like Jessica Cooper, a project manager with Stantec, the architect on record for the Lucas Museum.

"I didn't get a chance to meet my first architect until I was in high school, so the idea that these students can be engaged with real professionals at a young age, it helps shape their lives and helps them make decisions about the design profession," said Cooper.

"We found that in architecture, we were not having students in the inner city and minority youth to know that architecture was an option for them, so this camp was formulated to be able to introduce them to a possible career path," said Harris.

Every year, there's a different objective. This year, the students were tasked with reimagining Exposition Park with three additional museums, beginning to end.

"How do you put together a set of drawings, plans, the sections, the elevations? You help the kids kind of understand how to make their ideas a reality," said Cooper.

The experience has convinced many students to pursue careers in the field.

"Those different programs, I really enjoyed them, I really had fun just utilizing them and learning how to work with them and it is what I want to do for the rest of my life," said student Emani Glover.

And even though it's been virtual for the last two years, organizers say it's worth it, especially when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion.

"It's just a really great opportunity to show some representation and be a face for the kids so that they can understand that this is a path that they can seek if they'd like to in the future," said Cooper.

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