An anonymous artist surprised hikers and Los Angeles city officials last month when a teahouse showed up overnight on a Griffth Park hiking trail near Dante’s View.
The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) said it isn’t going to dismantle the teahouse. RAP representatives said they will relocate it because it’s illegal to put up a building without proper approval from the city.
According to signs accompanying the teahouse, the artist used wood from redwood trees killed in a 2007 Griffith Park fire.
“The teahouse is a love letter to Los Angeles and a quiet perch for urban reflection,” it says on a bench next to the teahouse. “In homage to the fire, the timbers were lightly charred before assembly. What wishes will swirl up into the city?”
Inside the teahouse, there are hooks for hikers to hang anonymous wishes or thoughts written on paper or wood slivers. By Tuesday evening, there were rows of hundreds of wishes hanging along the walls.
U.S. Rep Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) posted on Facebook about the teahouse on Monday.
“A teahouse appeared in the park in the middle of the night last month as part of a guerilla art project,” the post said. “Many have enjoyed the functional and beautiful art piece — a favorite detail is the carved griffon with the tracking collar.”
RAP’s public information director, Rose Watson, said the department is in discussions with the artist to find a better solution.
“We’re going to keep it,” she said. “Everyone agrees it’s beautiful. But we can’t keep it there because it’s illegal.”
Watson said keeping the teahouse where it presently sits would set a bad precedent and could encourage other developers to build pop-up buildings without proper review or permit.
Watson said a new location and date are still being determined.