The intent of “Letters to Parents,” an art exhibit from Aug. 21 to Sept. 29 by artist Kevin Ly, 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 – 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 proposed 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 has 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 4-year long project. By including this extra supplement, the public will have the opportunity to view the work over the course of its 4-year journey and receive perspective on what others have written. 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.
Ly finds importance in being able to make art accessible to all and to tell stories that share experiences from diverse groups of people. Through visual storytelling and art, he finds purpose in creating conversation and discourse on a variety of social topics such as representation, inclusivity and mental health. He takes pride in creating comfortable spaces for people to share and collaborate in efforts to form a community through art.
This temporary art installation is 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.