Interwoven Stories Project
Community Engagement Mural Project by Myisha Arellano & Michelle Glass
Armory Center for the Arts
March 10, 2023
Artists Myisha Arellano and Michelle Glass will present the first public showing of Interwoven Stories, a "quilted" mural created in collaboration with over 200 Pasadena-area community members over the past year. The mural will be unveiled at Armory Center for the Arts on March 10, 2023, coinciding with Pasadena's bi-annual ArtNight celebration. The 150-square-foot mural was created during public workshops in partnership with Armory Center for the Arts, NAACP Pasadena, Pasadena Community Job Center, Day One, Rose City High School, Community Arms, and the Hastings Branch Library.
Since December 2022, Arellano and Glass have served as artists in residence at NAACP Pasadena and the Pasadena Community Job Center. Facilitated by the Armory, their residencies were made possible by Artists At Work (AAW), an initiative inspired by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration that was designed to support the rebuilding of healthy communities through artistic and civic engagement nationwide. Since 2023, Arellano and Glass' residencies have been supported by a grant from the California Arts Council.
Arellano and Glass developed the Interwoven Stories project after meeting with community partners and listening to their communities' creative needs and interests. The artists led engagement workshops throughout community spaces and events in Pasadena with partner organizations, including NAACP Pasadena, Pasadena Community Job Center, Day One, Rose City High School, Community Arms, and the Hastings Branch Library. Arellano and Glass guided workshop participants to create individual 'story' panels for the mural, which served as monuments to honor the presence and histories of diverse communities within Pasadena. By telling stories in their own voices, the mural documents histories to build connections with ancestors, one another, and the land we inhabit.
Over 200 community members learned/shared storytelling and design techniques to create symbols representative of their experiences and cultural creativity. Through story circles and community events, participants visualized collective memory through symbols, words, and images onto 8" x 8" cotton squares using natural dyes, fabric markers, prints, paint, and embroidery. The large squares were then "woven" together using faux-embroidery techniques to create a community quilt. The Interwoven Stories project builds on the foundation of those who came before us and our hope and dreams for a better future.
In addition, the artists created three large panels inspired by three main partner organizations' energy, people, and vision connected to the symbolism developed throughout the workshops. The organizations and people depicted are Armory Center for the Arts (Heather Hilliard, Lark Crable, Lilia Hernandez), NAACP Pasadena (Florence Annang), and the Pasadena Community Job Center (Porfiria Guerrero and Ramiro Vega).
This installation marks the first public showing of the project. Displaying this piece creates a symbol of solidarity and cultural pride. The artists invite viewers to celebrate this space and the work of our partner organizations as necessary to the overall community fabric.