Monday, August 23, 2021

On The Schedule: August, 2021

This month I kept things fairly chill so I could focus on two pieces of writing: one, an article about reuse of buildings to be published in the fall; the other the book, Common Ground, about multifamily housing in LA, past and present. On the subject of reuse, however, I'm excited to participate this Thursday, August 26, in an event that celebrates repurposing cardboard! Read on for the details.

Cardboard City After Dark -- Fundraiser

Thursday, August 26, 2021; 6:30 -- 8:30 pm

Every child who ever built themselves a house in the box that delivered the TV or the fridge or the computer knows that cardboard is a wonder. Strong, protective, light -- what other material could so reliably protect eggs! It can be sculpture, it can be structure (think, cathedral by Shigeru Ban), it can be a backdrop to draw and paint on.

When I first visited LA in 1987 and went to Frank Gehry's then-office in Venice, I encountered his clever cardboard chairs. When I moved to LA in 1991 I bought a coffee table designed and made by Joel Stearns, the guy who used to make Gehry's cardboard furniture prototypes. 30 years later, it is a little battered but is still the heart of our living room.

Yet we throw out immense amounts of this marvelous material, even more since the pandemic when we ordered yet more stuff in (as we discussed in my KCRW series Wasted). 

Well, one group is on a mission to wake people up to the merits and creative potential of cardboard. This summer, the reDiscover Center, a non-profit makerspace for kids, created Cardboard City, a two month, pop-up, art gallery and art activity center at a storefront at 1231 3rd St Promenade in Santa Monica. It hosts workshops Thursdays -- Sundays and and is open to the public for free. Sadly, it closes its run on August 29.

Now the organizers are looking to expand the program, into other neighborhoods. With that future in mind, they will hold a fundraiser this Thursday. And it should be fun, even though it's online. I'll get to interview the founders of Cardboard City, Jonathan Bijur, Executive Director, and Aaron Kramer, Board President. 

Then they will talk with four of the artists who work with the young makers, plus brilliant Santa Monica-based artist Mimi Haddon will put on a performance piece. Mimi is so versatile and unpredictable -- she paints, photographs, works with any and every material that enchants her -- it's hard to know exactly what she will show, but it will delight. 

Frank Gehry is the honorary chair for the event. I covered his latest LA project, a home for Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) in Inglewood, on this Greater LA story aired in early August. Here he is when I first met him, lounging on his cardboard Bubbles Chaise Longue. The photo was taken by Tim Street-Porter for The Architectural Review, December 1987. All the other pictures above are my snaps of children's work at Cardboard City on 3rd Street Promenade.

Hope to see you at the Cardboard City After Dark fundraiser Thursday. Click here for details.

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