Courtesy: Los Angeles County Arts Commission Civic Art Collection
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Los Angeles, California

Vincent Proby (

A.C. Bilbrew Library, 150 E. El Segundo Blvd, Los Angeles, California, 90061
Date:  1974
Placement:  libraries (buildings)
Artwork Type:  sculpture (visual work)
Material:  cement products, stained glass (material)
Description:  In 1974 Los Angeles County built a new facility for the North Enterprise Library Branch and named it after Madame A C Bilbrew, a community leader, poet, musician, and Los Angeles County deputy. Madame Bilbrew was a pioneer in radio and was the first Black person to have her own radio show in the United States. The Bilbrew Library is also famous for housing the Black Resource Center which many authors and researchers use to study social, historical, and cultural aspects of Black history.

Architect and artist Vincent J. Proby was hired to design this important library. Proby was passionate about art and he included an artwork of his own in the building. This work makes up part of the main foyer and is composed of concrete panels which include small pieces of stained glass. The glass shapes form a bright and organic curvilinear pattern. The panels are interspersed with narrow vertical windows to let more light into the building.

About the Artist: Vincent J. Proby was born in Wichita, Texas in 1928. As a child, he moved with his family to Los Angeles and remained in the area for the rest of his life. He majored in architecture at the University of Southern California and designed many prominent buildings during the course of his career. His works include buildings on the campuses of UCLA, Los Angeles City College, and Pierce College as well as several Los Angeles high schools, the California African American Museum, and structures at Camp Pendleton. His artwork can be found in the collection of the California African American Museum.

In 1978 Proby was the first African American, and the first member of any minority group, to serve on the State Board of Architectural Examiners and throughout his life he served as a guest lecturer for several universities. Vincent J. Proby passed away in 1987 at the age of 59.

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