Play the LA River was a public art project that aimed to see the notoriously channelized urban river as a multifaceted ecosystem and cultural space connecting the region's diverse communities. Allison Carruth was a co-founder of the arts collective Project 51 that envisioned and organized the project, which won a major national grant from ArtPlace America in 2014.
Project 51 worked in partnership with dozens of arts and environmental organizations to engage communities in a year of programming aimed at reimagining the 51-mile-long river. At the project's center was a collectible, playable card deck—a game of urban exploration that showcases fifty-two sites along the river, from the headwaters in Canoga Park to its mouth in Long Beach, along with four wild card sites that are nearby and river-related. The team also developed and launched a digital platform that featured an interactive version of the card deck, a dynamic social media stream, a community-generated events calendar and a virtual exhibition space.