First published in the April 23 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
The Glendale Tree Stories project will have a special exhibit of its past work at ReflectSpace Gallery starting today and running through May 5.
Glendale Tree Stories is a public story-sharing project that celebrates the Glendale community’s unique, multifaceted and historic relationship with trees. This project was made possible by a $20,000 grant from California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment of the Humanities. The grant was awarded to the city of Glendale’s public works department in May of 2020 and used to create a project that fosters communication, stewardship and consensus in the community around preserving the urban forest for future generations.
Between 2020 and 2022, the Tree Stories project team collected story submittals from Glendale residents about their favorite trees, researched local history and interviewed community leaders for a behind-the-scenes look at the creation and preservation of Glendale’s most popular parks and open space destinations.
For the project’s final print exhibit, “Coexisting: Glendale Tree Stories,” the project artist, Elkpen, transformed a selection of this material into a series of eighteen comics, mixing personal stories from the community with local natural history, tree lore, and reflections on urban nature.
The Project Team is still collecting story submissions from the public. Interested participants can submit their tree stories through the city’s online portal or by visiting the Glendale Central Library during regular business hours. “Coexisting: Glendale Tree Stories” is available to view now through May 7, at the Glendale Central Library in partnership with ReflectSpace Gallery’s exhibit “As the Earth Wanes: Considering Climate Change.”
A special Glendale Tree Stories installation will also be open for public participation at the city of Glendale’s Earth Day Pop-Up Fair today. All tree story submissions, along with Elkpen’s comics, will be archived online and available to the public.
The exhibit’s closing reception will be hosted by ReflectSpace Gallery on Thursday, May 5, from 6-9 p.m. at the Glendale Central Library. The Glendale Tree Stories project artist Elkpen and Humanities Advisor Stephanie Landregan will participate in an “Artist and Activist Talk” that evening at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
“These projects will bring the complexity and diversity of California to light in new ways that will engage Californians from every part of our state, and will help us all understand each other better,” said Julie Fry, president/ CEO of California Humanities. “We congratulate these grantees whose projects will promote understanding and provide insight into a wide range of topics, issues, and experiences.”