MacArthur Park Youth Art Opening

Saturday, October 25, 2014, LA Commons gathered with Los Angeles and Boyle Heights based artist Alfonso Aceves, youth artists, family, and community members of MacArthur Park in exhibition of the beautiful Youth Art Opening. It has been such a humbling honor to be able to see just a portion of the huge amount of work put into this project. This project, put together by Beth Petersen, Alfonso Aceves, and youth artists in the MacArthur Park area, has been many months in the making, taking the youth’s artistic interpretations of stories from community members and displaying those stories through giant Papel Picado art instillations. Coming on as an intern this September with LA Commons and joining mid-production, I had the opportunity to see the final manufacturing done through many workshops and planning of the MacArthur Park Youth Art Opening event with the MacArthur Park Fall Festival. I will say without a doubt, and am sure that anyone who has had the chance to view and pass by the displayed artwork, that all the time and hard work put towards this project has created something truly beautiful and inspiring to the community of MacArthur Park.

Saturday October 25, a sunny afternoon was such a bonus to the display of the beautiful art work hung between the trees of the south-east corner of the park, just off of 7th Street and Alvarado. Youth artists presented their finished artwork to family, friends, and community members who had gathered in celebration of all the hard work put into the hung display at 2pm.

Following the opening of the student’s art, Aztec dancers and musicians led a percussion of people across the park to the MacArthur Park Fall Festival event. There LA Commons artist Alfonzo Aceves led a workshop to create masks in celebration of Dia de los Muertos using his own homemade screen printing machine. Community members, ranging in many ages including many children and adults, were then invited to color and decorate the screen-printed masks. We then concluded with the honoring of the students with certificates and the student’s art samples presented by Councilman Gil Cedillo.

It has been such a privilege to work alongside with Aceves and his huge contribution towards working with the team of youth artists in creating the Papel Picado art instillation as well as his contribution to the making of masks during the MacArthur Park Fall Festival – his work is seriously so cool! We would also like to highlight Mama Sandra Romero from Mama’s Hot Tamales, who had joined us in this wonderful art opening and festival, and her huge impact towards the revitalization of the MacArthur Park neighborhood. It has been an honor to hear and see of her inspiring and life giving involvement in the growth of this neighborhood.

It is safe to say that the MacArthur Park Fall Festival was truly a day filled with some of the things that LA Commons loves the most: community and art.

(Riley, LA Commons Intern)


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