GLENDALE—Glendale’s urban landscape and populace has changed dramatically over time. The region, inhabited by indigenous Kizh (also referred to as Tongva) people before the first wave of immigrants arrived, is now home to a diverse population from all over the world. When the city incorporated in 1906, the area boasted a population of about 13,000. Today, the population soars over 200,000 per the U.S. Census.
A new installation at ReflectSpace presents “Tell Me: Stories of Migration to Glendale,” an exhibit that reflects on the histories and experiences of movement into Glendale for generations and builds a multi-dimensional portrait of the city and its residents. Supported by a major grant from California Humanities, “Tell Me” gathers video, images and stories from a wide spectrum of Glendale communities to present a narrative — cohesive but also at times fractured — that details how we got here as a city. Contextualizing these stories, the curators of “Tell Me” have scoured the Central Library’s archives to tell a parallel Glendale story based on historic maps, photographs and other ephemera — some of which have not been seen for decades.
In an attempt to create a portrait of the city itself, “Tell Me” also presents a somewhat experimental contemporary video project via the meanderings of the library arts and culture courier as he makes his rounds crisscrossing the city over several days. Glendale’s story is ongoing and “Tell Me” adds to the city’s narrative with interactivity: it engages the audience and creates a space for library patrons to write their own stories and become part of the exhibit itself.
As part of the exhibit, the Glendale Central Library is collaborating with InsideOut Project, launched by world-renowned French artist JR — a global art project transforming messages of personal identity into works of art. The library staff has photographed dozens of Glendale residents and library patrons into a visual and communal story of our city. Intimate and informal, the portraits will be supersized and displayed all over the library, in windows, suspended in mid-air and on the ground at the library’s entrance.
Taken together, these contemporary and historical narratives, tell a story of transformation and community: much like the history of the city itself. Curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan, “Tell Me: Stories of Migration to Glendale” runs from September 13 to November 8, with an opening reception on Friday September 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Glendale Central Library’s ReflectSpace Gallery. The gallery is located at 222 E. Harvard St., Glendale, CA 91205.
“Tell Me: Stories of Migration to Glendale” is the first step in the library’s newly launched effort to documents the stories and narratives of its residents. These videos and images will become part of a growing archive, soon to be available to the public that tells and tracks Glendale’s contemporary history.
Known as the “Jewel City,” Glendale is the fourth largest city of Los Angeles County. With a population of more than 200,000, Glendale is a thriving cosmopolitan city that is rich in history, culturally diverse, and offers nearly 50 public parks, as well as easy access to a municipal airport. It is the home to a vibrant business community, with major companies in healthcare, entertainment, manufacturing, retail, and banking.
Glendale’s Library, Arts & Culture Department began in 1907 and includes six neighborhood libraries as well as the Brand Library & Art Center, housed in the historic 1904 mansion of Glendale pioneer Leslie C. Brand, and the Central Library, a 93,000 square foot center for studying, learning and gathering. For more information call Library, Arts & Culture at 818.548.2030 or visit the website.