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“Untitled: A Procession on the Borders of Something That Has Already Shifted”

826LA Youth Advisory Board Partners Up With Materials & Applications to Talk Change

Three 826la Youth Advisory Board (YAB) members–Vince, Gaby, and Jesenia–joined local artists, speakers, and residents to share their experiences growing up in Echo Park at a September 29 procession through their neighborhood. The event was led by Materials&Applications, a local organization dedicated to expanding the role of architecture in the public sphere.

I really wanted people to see that it [Echo Park] wasn’t always a hip and trendy place.”

Visitors gathered at Echo Park and made several stops around the neighborhood to see performances by residents about their unique connection to the ever-changing community of Echo Park. Topics discussed included housing, change, and belonging. As a stop in the procession, attendees visited the 826LA writing center and listened to pieces written by 826LA students and YAB members on the topic of gentrification in the community.

Walking into the dark writing center, visitors witnessed Jesenia, age 18, on a chair. As she stood up and walked around the room, people listened to a memory of her cooling off under the playground shade on a hot summer day at Elysian Park with her father. Her piece, titled LA’s Haunting Heat Roams on Leather Seats” highlights the fact that the playground, once an oasis, had been replaced by a modern jungle gym. Jesenia said, “In my memories, I would come to the park; it wasn’t until I was a teenager where I became aware of the change around me.” She drew inspiration from the feeling of sadness she got watching old movies about LA and how different the the city is today.

Sixteen-year-old Gaby wrote about her neighborhood and drew a diagram of the Sunset Boulevard she remembers growing up, comparing it to the Sunset Boulevard she sees now. A slide show of her map and pictures of old stores rotated on a projector. She spoke about her favorite 99 Cents Only Stores, where she purchased popsicles after school, being replaced with expensive coffee shops she can’t afford. Gaby said, “My story was a very subtle rant about how I was upset everything was leaving, and I really wanted people to see that it [Echo Park] wasn’t always a hip and trendy place.”

Not everything particularly has to be an evident change, it can be something you grow and that you feel was changed.”

Vince, 17, wrote about the years he spent at Logan Elementary School. His piece strayed away from the obvious physical changes surrounding the school to focus on the emotional change a person in Echo Park can experience growing up. Vince mentioned the school system changing and handball courts being torn down on campus, but he wanted people to see the bigger picture. Towards the end of his years at Logan, he realized a lot about friendship and individuality. He said, “I want people to understand that not everything particularly has to be an evident change, it can be something you grow and that you feel was changed.”

The three students were recruited by Gwyneth Shanks and Sarah Lewis-Cappellari from Materials&Applications, for their procession series, Privacies Infrastructure. Students expressed that it was rewarding to speak out about how they are impacted by change in their community.


YAB is a group of diverse, literary, motivated, and fun-loving 826LA students between the ages of 14 and 18. Its members contribute to the 826LA community through volunteering, youth mentoring, and supporting various activities and fundraisers.

To see more creative projects YAB works on throughout the year, check out their Tumblr page here.


 

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