On a sunny, tree-lined street in Los Feliz, Dan Fields’ fence has become a surprising space for art — specifically, children’s art — during the pandemic. Over a dozen drawings and paintings guarded in plastic sheet protectors hang on binder clips along a green cable bolted to wooden slats. Neighborhood kids have been putting up a wide breadth of works, from crayon drawings of smiling trees, to Pikachu scratch art and a Black Lives Matter sign. Fields’ son folded 21 colorful origami cranes that are now dangling between two trees above the outdoor gallery.
On a superficial level, much of the artwork may appear to be items that would normally make their way onto a refrigerator door at home. However, as Los Angeles just passed its sixth month of the safer-at-home order due to COVID-19, these pictures are becoming artifacts in an unprecedented time in our recent history. They give a glimpse into how children are processing their current reality, one that is spent mostly at home, away from school and friends, with the backdrop of a global pandemic and a civil rights movement for Black lives. The innocence of their artwork is also acting as a balm for both children and adults during these heavy times.
Fields said he first came up with the idea of a neighborhood gallery after getting off of a work conference call where people were speaking about resiliency and making it a priority to “take care of ourselves and our family and our neighbors within the limitations of what was safe.” It has gradually become a friendly space that gives passersby a reason to stop and chat with Fields, and for neighbors — both children and adults alike — to see the familiar names of kids they know accompanying the artwork.
“It’s serving as a good reminder that we're still a community, even if a community is just the random collection of people that live on your street,” said Fields, who works as the executive creative director at Disney Parks Live Entertainment.
Click through below to see more artworks by neighborhood children from Dan Fields's fence.