One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 was to “retire” from voluntary community involvement activities (with the exception of Friends of Cahuenga Library and any community projects currently in-progress, of course). So, this was the latter. I assisted LA Commons with doing community outreach for a “story gathering” event today at the proposed park/community garden at 1175 Madison Avenue in East Hollywood.
The organization was tasked with creating a mural for a structure that would be built on the park, including the process of hiring an artist and facilitating the recruitment of local high school students to help paint the mural, which was similar to the process of the utility box murals that were painted along Hollywood and Santa Monica boulevards and Vermont Avenue here in my ‘hood.
But the event today was focused on gathering stories and opinions from people in the neighborhood, which would influence the eventual design of the mural. The extent of my outreach was getting event flyers to students/parents of the nearby Lockwood Avenue Elementary School and Lexington Avenue Primary Center, who are in close proximity to the park and would no doubt benefit from it once it’s built. The effort turned out pretty well, as over 60 people came to the event, which also featured some Zankou Chicken. Fellow local (and Friends of Cahuenga Library boardmember) Jimmy Recinos recited some local-centric poetry, and I got to sing and play (on my new Breedlove acoustic guitar) “My Part of Town” and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” (as an allusion to um, the current leadership of this country).
I also met Dalila Mendez, the muralist of our project (whom I helped lobby to be selected due to her community ties and relatability to the students) and chatted with a writer from the Eastsider L.A. blog who was covering the event.
It was a great time, on a sunny winter day, though at the same time a bit surreal due to my partial blindness, which I talked about with some friends there. At least I didn’t have to drive to the event.