Angels Gate Cultural Center

  • 04/24/2020
  • Reporters Desk

Bridging San Pedro: Visual Literacy as Community Practice

Curated by jill moniz, Bridging San Pedro: Visual Literacy as Community Practice is a contemporary art exhibition showcasing four artists with singular, but intersecting, art projects fostering a greater awareness of, and association between, the Port of Los Angeles, life in San Pedro and art as a daily lived experience.

This exhibition extends visual literacy and action to empower community and place. In Fall 2019 AGCC hosted free community art workshops, with each project led by one of four principal artists: Cole M James, June Edmonds, Alexis Slickelman, and Blue McRight. Artwork created by Los Angeles Harbor region community members, installed alongside work done by the artists, intersect along themes that bridge the port and communities of San Pedro, and forges a visually robust path toward the future by engaging in communal participatory language and making.

Cole James’ Non-linear Storytelling or Just Telling Stories Differently workshop invited participants to contribute a photograph of something that ties them to their family, community, or San Pedro history, and engaged community members in an unbound bookmaking project. James utilized these stories, and photographs, to create a contemporary community altar as part of the artist’s ongoing Rue Project.

June Edmonds, City of Los Angeles (COLA) art fellow and AGCC Studio Artist, explored how flags can communicate identity or a meaningful message about an individual, using patterns inspired by maritime flags. The Flagging Identity project posed the question: Wouldn’t it be useful to communicate, from afar, an identity or state of oneself, just as maritime flags communicate information from ship to ship? These workshops allowed for the community to associate with, and come to more deeply and personally connect with, the port, sea and maritime trade in an imaginative way.

Ceramicist Alexis Slickelman harnessed the power of making and collaborating with the community through her Like the Ocean workshops, inviting participants to paint hand cut ceramic tiles with a variety of glazes.  The tiles were later installed piece by piece in the gallery to create a ceramic wall of undulating tiles representing the diversity of the community, allowing for participants to see themselves as part of the LA Harbor Region, and the Port’s, landscape.

Blue McRight, another COLA fellow, educated and engaged the community with her Fathom project which aimed to raise awareness of ocean pollution and sea level rise in the Los Angeles Harbor. McRight worked in partnership with the Southbay Surfrider Foundation, and Capitan Charles Moore of the Algalita based in Long Beach, to collect salvaged ocean plastics. Workshop participants created vertical sculptures, measuring the length of their outstretched arms (the original length of a fathom), utilizing the cleaned salvaged trash. All pieces were then installed in the AGCC gallery with the top of each hanging 66” from the floor, the projected sea level rise in the Los Angeles Harbor according to a study by the Pacific Institute.

Register for Studio Soup here.

This project is supported, in part, by the Port of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

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