By Bethany BROWN
Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation hosted a special viewing on Saturday, Dec. 11 of a new art installation at Deukmejian Wilderness Park. The 26-foot mosaic mural, titled “The Breath of a Deukmejian Day,” depicts and celebrates natural elements of the region, including plants and animals found in the local area.
The Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting park projects, recreation programs and open space activities that enrich the entire community. It strives to encourage community members to get outside and connect with nature.
Local artist Hannah Maximova said she feels proud and grateful that her work helps the organization further its mission. She was commissioned to complete the mural over three years ago but had to undergo a long process of awaiting city approval before she could begin bringing her vision to life.
Foundation President Paul Rabinov emphasized his gratitude to former president Kate Eberle for originally conceiving the idea years ago.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Rabinov said. “It is here as a permanent celebration of our community on a natural level.”
The mosaic mural can be found mounted onto the outdoor amphitheater wall that stands adjacent to the stone barn. The barn is still under renovation and conversion into a Nature Interpretive Center, which is set to open in the new year.
“I’ve been installing [the mural] for the last few weeks and it was just wonderful to have it unveiled for all those people,” Maximova said. “People were so enthusiastic; it was incredibly gratifying.”
Maximova said she began the creation process of cutting glass in January of this year and finished in June. She recalled it served as an inspiring and safe space for her during the rather painful time that the pandemic introduced to the world. The mural, according to Maximova, reflects both the breath and breadth of a Deukmejian day. The work encompasses a full day for the plants and animals that live there – the left side as the morning, the middle as the afternoon and the right side as the evening – with each species represented at the specific times each is most active.
“We’re so lucky to still have such abundant wildlife,” Maximova said. “It’s a wonderful gift that current and past generations have preserved some of our land so that these animals have a place to live, and I just hope that future generations will share that sense of preciousness and recognize that we’re very lucky to have a wonderful biodiversity represented in this park.”
She urged people to remember that human residents are not alone in the area and emphasized how important it is to acknowledge and respect the wildlife that shares the area. She urges people to continue to do what is possible to protect it by bringing more consciousness and thought into each decision made.
“We need to think about what we can do as a society, as a city, as individuals, to make the world more habitable for more than just us,” Maximova said. “Every [poor] choice can take you closer to helping the world be cleaner and safer and kinder to all humans and all non-humans, and every choice could make it much harder to achieve that.”
Individuals and businesses can support the park and Foundation’s mission by purchasing a legacy tile. Each tile will be installed on the donor wall located next to the mural; all money raised goes directly toward supporting of various Glendale city park programs. Donations can be made at www.glendaleparksfoundation.org.
“It’s groundbreaking because this is the first time that an opportunity has been presented where the public can sponsor a donor tile within a park,” Rabinov said. “We’ve already been met with such immense support from the community and public officials, and we just hope that will continue.”
A formal dedication of the mosaic mural and the grand opening of the Nature Interpretive Center will be held on Feb. 12, 2022.