Community Field Trip: San Fernando Road

The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information visit www.mylariver.org

Last week Youth Voices Student producers from ArtLAB and the L.A. River School had the opportunity to go out into the community and take photographs, record audio and conduct interviews as part of their exploration of their neighborhood. They visited both familiar and new sites to collect media and continue to build their story.

For our first trip we simply walked out the front gate of the schools to take in the neighborhood right outside. The student producers ventured onto San Fernando Road at the precise border of the Glassell and Cypress Park neighborhoods. The L.A. River School student producers visited the Rio de Los Angeles State Park, or as the students call it, Taylor Yard, where the students interviewed each other about the role the new park plays in their lives. These informal interviews provided the students with additional practice conducting interviews -- asking questions and setting up the equipment to get the best image and sound.

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The park is a relatively new addition to the neighborhood, but one that had been part of a long struggle to create more green space and safe access to the L.A. River in Northeast L.A. Over the course of a decade community organizations, environmentalists and residents came together to fight for the creation of a park and wetlands that would offer the surrounding community much needed park space. The park opened on Earth Day in 2007.

Students who were interviewed shared stories about the various activities they do at the park. Many want to see direct access to the River, as well as a pedestrian bridge or a safe walk-way along the river that would allow students to bypass busy San Fernando Road as they travel to and from school from Atwater Village and Elysian Valley.

Photos from L.A. River School Youth Voices Student Producers

Student producers from both the L.A. River School and ArtLAB then walked along San Fernando Road, taking pictures and capturing the details often missed when simply passing or driving through. Both groups traveled to Patras Charbroiled Burgers, a community landmark that has served up delicious fast food to the community for over 35 years. The students interviewed each other, and the ArtLAB students set up an interview with the restaurant's owner, Dino Perris. Mr. Perris told them about the history of his restaurant and his pride in serving the Glassell and Cypress Park communities. He also shared his enthusiasm for the Rio de Los Angeles Park and the Sotomayor Learning Academies, as well as other new schools along San Fernando Road. He felt all have brought a new life and energy to the neighborhoods.

Photos from ArtLAB Youth Voices Student Producers

Look out for more of the students pictures and the full interview with Dino Perris in upcoming Youth Voices posts.

Map of field trip route:
View ArtLAB Field Trip 1 & 2 in a larger map

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