June 9, 2007
Avenue 50 Studio
The power art has to bring people together is overwhelmingly evident in the collaborative project Highland Park Stories. When LA Commons hired me to mentor youth from the community in the arduous art of the woodcut, I suggested we create a monumental print along with a mural using the carved birch panels after the images had been transferred to paper. After high school students were recruited to participate in the project, we started developing ideas and ended up with the tree as the main motif. The original group of little more than a dozen students was reduced to seven heroic youngsters that didn’t give up easily. Few are the chosen but these ones were also special. Their work is a testament to their ingenuity and creativity. They learned as much from me as I did from them. I’m thrilled to see that now we’re finally harvesting the fruit of our effort. Our goal has been achieved. Now Highland park has a permanent mural that honors its community and also a monumental print on paper that will be able to travel to other venues and serve as inspiration to other groups such as ours.
Participating Artists: Poli Marichal, Jose Angel, Edwin Castaneda, Juan Manuel Cortez, Andrew Martinez, Victor Rosas, Willy Rossal, Melissa Uribe
Presented by: LA Commons
Project Support provided by: The James Irvine Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and Weingart Foundation, Arroyo Arts Collective, Avenue 50 Studio, Office of Councilman Ed Reyes and Franklin High School Art Department
Special Thanks: Franklin HS, Ilona Battiglio-Aguayo, Duane Baker, Anexie Portalatin, Pam Perkins, Ms. Seeger, Ms. Casinof and Yim Tam, Councilman Ed Reyes and Rogelio Rodriguez.