The intent of “Letters to Parents” is to start a conversation and have people interact with not just the installation, but with each other.
This exhibit at the Adams Square Mini Park Gas Station follows an installation by Kevin Ly at the Glendale Central Library that took place from June 1 through July 31. The installation involved Ly placing a brightly colored mailbox near the entrance of the library alongside a desk decorated with childhood memorabilia and writing materials. On the desk was a sign that posed the question “What is something you wish your parents had told you?” in which the public had the opportunity to answer with the provided supplies. After writing a response, the public was instructed to insert their letter into the mailbox. Ly picked up the letters submitted by the public on a weekly basis and included them in his installation at the gas station.
Ly’s intention for “Letters to Parents” is to create an accessible and safe environment for others to share their thoughts and experiences growing up. Ly’s installation at the Adams Square Mini Park Gas Station consists of a physical mock-up of a child’s bedroom to emphasize the idea of a space individuals would have wanted as a child but may have never received. It also acts as a relic of the past that may be nostalgic to some people and bring back memories they had of their childhood. In order to physically emulate the space to look like a child’s bedroom, the gas station is furnished with a child’s bed, desk decorated with childhood memorabilia, a bookshelf with a collection of children’s books, a hat stand and a rug.
Along with recreating a space reminiscent of a child’s bedroom, Ly also includes the letters of peoples’ responses and artwork he has collected from “Letters to Parents” being a four-year long project. Ly’s aim is for this to act as a catalyst for public discourse on childhood trauma and its effects on adulthood and mental health.
This temporary art installation is generously sponsored by the Glendale Arts and Culture Commission through funding from the Urban Art Program, with support from Glendale Library, Arts & Culture, Glendale Community Services and Parks, and the Adams Hill Neighborhood Association.
First published in the September 2 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.