Fools for Hope was a juried multi-disciplined exhibition on the grounds of La Tierra de la Culebra Art Park in Highland Park, Los Angeles. It featured public art installations, and photography paired with poetry.
Visit Joanne Chase-Mattillo’s website
Got to wonder why I love her so much,
this old slattern of a city,
so promiscuous with her favors,
a hibiscus tucked behind each ear,
and earthquakes like a hoochy koochy dancer.
Got to wonder why I put up with
the miasma of her perfume,
ozone, bus fumes and burning rubber
her hair, shaggy as unkept palm trees,
her eyes, like headlights coming in the wrong lane.
I told her I was leaving her a dozen times,
but she served me up mole negro,
prik king, chicken and waffles and ube cake,
just the way I like it,
spun the Santa Ana’s on the turntable,
said I was the only one
who really understood her,
cried big, fat tears which rolled down the Arroyo Seco,
so I put my head down on her soft right breast,
just at Mount Washington,
and looked up to see
she’d gotten the stars to spell out my name.
Visit Mary’s Cheung’s website
Visit Bill Ratner’s website
I want a limo for this, a huge stretch limo like the one Sinatra rode in, a black one, longer than a semi. I’ll stick my head out the sunroof and breathe and sneeze from the pollen and smell Tommy’s chili cheeseburgers, kimchee on 6th Street, deep-fried Snickers at the L.A. County Fair, runners’ sweat, rubber on racing bikes at the Venice pier, fried catfish, and brine, all in the air.
I’ll tap my lips so I know I’m there, massage my jaws, ball up my hand, and thump my thymus where the second button of my shirt touches my sternum and leave this morning’s slog-dream behind. I’ll rise like a pudgy bodhisattva levitating over his cushion. I’ll
ignore the placards of grief. I won’t acknowledge death. I’ll test my fear. I’ll take Vitamin C, maybe a whole gram a day.
I’ll float like a kite blown so high I’ll see yogis performing asanas on the mountaintop. At eight o’clock it’ll still be light out, I’ll hear the sound of drums and whistles, incantations, grateful cries from people’s windows. I’ll finger the air and float back and forth in a
sky-blue sack like a Malibu seal. Sirens will go off in the desert for a sale at Costco, I’ll buy Dexatrim and apple-scented room freshener, grab free paper cups of sharp cheddar cubes and soy drinks.
I won’t be able to sleep. I’ll go take in the poppies. We’ll park right by sidewalks full of people in shorts and smiles, kids eating Dreamsicles, laughs echoing through the crowd. I want all this in one huge breath.
Driver, don’t drop me off yet, go around real slow one more time, for one more look, one more breath, so I can remember.
Yvette Nicole Kolodji
Visit Yvette Nicole Kolodji’s website
Certain Days Feel So Heavy
Visit Richard Ferguson’s website
like that final weight pallbearers carry to the grave.
yet say the correct password,
and the moon will allow you into its secret room
behind the shine.
that’s where good luck wears the scent
of new laundry behind its ears,
where our brightest essence illuminates dark waters.
the clock tells me when it claps its hands,
i can open my eyes.
it’s then i’ll be older than i remember,
and younger than i care to forget.
should you see me holding something to the light,
it’s a letter i meant to send you
before all these troubles left their shadows at our door.
Broken sunglass lens and reflections
Visit Karen Greenbaum-Maya’s website
Contentment In The Cracks
Visit Lisa Montagne’s website
My soul is a split vessel.
Today I shall find contentment in its cracks.
There is beauty in the crevices.
Like a Kintsugi vase, healed with precious metals
That bind the tender, broken places
With renewed strength.
Stories flow through those glittering lines
Like a wild vine, like a thread through a tapestry
Where lives are weaved, pulled, displayed
To be consumed by eyes and hearts.
For a soul cannot be contained.
It overflows, stretches beyond,
Seeps then cleaves to the new spaces
It has relaxed into.
So today I shall find contentment in the cracks.
Before they crumble once again
Like clods under the foot of time,
Leaving only traces to glint
In the memory of the sun.
For things do fall apart.
And that is okay.
Hope Springing Eternally
Visit Josie Roth’s website
Fecund with Promise
Visit Lillian Doyle’s website
My vision is static and it’s time to flee,
to slip out from under these ominous lights,
the colorful ads that cast red and blue
shadows over my face.
Premises are why
and conclusions are what,
but there is no argument to be made.
Everything is funnier with a beer
or in a quiet room-
doubled over, tight with laughter-
where can we release it?
Follow the lurch in your stomach
when you slam on the brakes-
your ears will ring; catch the call-
wonder seeks wonder and the road is
fecund with promise.
The Protectors 7
Visit Ricardo Tomasz’s website
Mary E. Torregrossa
I ask my geology professor
What is a ridge?
I’d read about them
in Hardy Boy books
but had never seen one
except in old western movies,
a desert dry row of big rocks.
I’m from the east coast
where our mountains
are rolling green hills, hardly tectonic,
I explain to my classmates
on this, my first field trip
into the brown, boney mountains
that rim the LA Valley Basin.
When he points the next time –
Over there by that crest –
I keep my mouth shut
my eyes open to the scrubby
dusty green pine, the disjointed
dark red Manzanita, granite boulders
and ancient runneled sandstone. Inside fractures in the rockface
water freezes and unfreezes making
blocks that look like giants’ teeth.
A plateau. An outcrop. An alluvial fan.
Here’s where the two plates meet
And we all jump back and forth
across the San Andreas Fault,
a narrow jagged three foot wide
ravine, eight hundred miles long
NOT a ravine, he says to me.
I swear he rolls his eyes
as he crunches over
to the other side
to address the students
from across the rift
This is where the mother stitch comes undone.
s o m e w h e r e
Visit Ashley Kruythoff’s website
Sherbet skies of raspberry stain Los
Angeles clouds pink
The Summer of pandemic sinks spirits in
But love responds in a Sgt. Pepper sort of
All you need is love and strawberry fields
Find your Penny Lane and sing these virus
If we could spread our love like this virus
John Lennon would be in his happy place
The collective consciousness of the
Is pure love in its most positive and potent
Our energy can reform the imbalance on
George Harrison’s guitar unfolding love
Sentient beings awaken from sleeping
Photographs by Martha Benedict
Eyes on the Monarchs Totems
Visit Katrina Alexy’s website
Eyes on the Monarchs Totems are made from recycled items covered in a thin film of cement and painted. The recycled items were found during this pandemic time, specifically almond milk bottles and Styrofoam from packaging being tossed out in blue bins.
Cat Chiu Phillips
Visit Cat Chiu Phillips’s website
Plastic Chrysalis, donated HDPE plastic pellets, is meant to mimic the final developmental stage of a monarch butterfly’s metamorphosis. It is a play between natural and synthetic elements representing an interaction with nature but formed from materials usually viewed as junk. It is a poignant and poetic representation of rebirth or hope especially through this global pandemic. Solar LED lights enable the work to be lit at night illuminating its sculpted patterns as well as its surroundings.
Another Life at the Tierra de la Culebra
Visit Pascaline Doucin-Dahlke’s website
Another Life at the Tierra de la Culebra, painted palm sheaths and fruit branches installed in a different context from their original setting, references the situation we are currently living due to COVID, and how we adapt to new environments. Park visitors are encouraged to rediscover the beauty of each leaf and complexity of the palm fruit branches.
Visit Cidne Hart’s website
Nature never fails to turn her on, but Cidne stays rooted in her long-time community of Highland Park. She practices the alternative photographic process called cyanotype, which she combines with natural dyes and stitching on fabric. She combines all those techniques to make her hanging banners. Each hangs and waves in the wind, the words are inspiring but realistic.
Patty Sue Jones and Heather Hoggan
A Second Life
A Second Life comprises 100 used horseshoes, transformed and embedded in the ground to create a horse trail meandering through the Park. The shoe’s first life is to provide support for the horse hoof – changed to a second life as an art object. It also refers to the personal journeys of the art team – with second lives as an equestrian and a fiber artist.
A Changed Man
A Changed Man is a life-sized plastic mannequin vibrantly covered with deconstructed knit sweaters.
“We have experienced both upheaval and monotony during this COVID year. Few things will be able to “go back to the way they were before”. I want to keep going forward. I have used this year of isolation to transform myself both personally and creatively. I am a changed man(nequin)”
Kristen’s visual and performance art includes installation, painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, recycled plastics,
ceramics and natural materials- Whatever the muse requires- to Make That Thing.
Yeu “Q” Nguyen
An interactive installation where community members are asked to write down what Hope means for them, what gives them Hope or what they Hope for.
The Possibilities of What’s Familiar
Visit Robyn Sanford’s website
The Possibilities of What’s Familiar consists of strands of internet cable linked together to create a ladder-like form that climbs out into a colorful opening. The rungs of the ladder begin at the bottom as a tangled mess of black wires, with each subsequent step up the wires becoming more controlled and colorful.