Cardboard city | The Argonaut Newsweekly
Santa Monica Project Invites Crowds to Pop-Up Art Center
By Bridgette M. Redman
Parents have long known that children are often more fascinated by the cardboard box of a gift than by the gift itself. So why not take the kids to a 10,000 square foot town made entirely of cardboard?
Cardboard City is an innovative pop-up community art center that will be open on Third Street Promenade in downtown Santa Monica until August 29. It will feature large-scale cardboard sculptures, architectural models and free family art activities using cardboard-making techniques.
“I’m excited about what we’ve created here: amazing art exhibits,” said Johnathan Bijur, executive director of reDiscover Center, which built Cardboard City in partnership with the Santa Monica City Sustainability Office. and the
Environmental and Starpoint properties. “There’s this huge cardboard business area where families can make things.
In addition to free exhibits and art activities, visitors can enroll in paid classes or purchase tools and materials to make cardboard art at home. There’s even a camp that runs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Camp costs $ 200 for ages 7 to 12 with scholarships available.
“Cardboard City is a free community art center where everything is made of cardboard,” Bijur said. “The art is made of cardboard, the furniture is made of cardboard, the projects your children will make and take home are also made of cardboard. Created in partnership with the LA arts community, there are amazing sculptures to inspire, as well as artists in residence each week giving suggestions for projects kids can do to bring home or contribute to one of. our growing facilities.
The city opened on July 8 and will continue to be open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at 1231 Third Street Promenade.
reDiscover Center’s mission is to develop children’s creativity through practical manufacturing with sustainable materials. “ReDiscover” refers to the rediscovery of waste for educational, artistic and creative projects. They offer community engagement events like Cardboard City as well as camps, classes and school services.
Over the past seven years, reDiscover has expanded its DIY program, introducing carpentry tools to elementary schools and teaching students how to use them safely. Throughout the history of the 19-year nonprofit, they have created engagement programs of which Cardboard City is the most prominent.
“As we began to emerge from the depths of the pandemic in the spring with increasing immunization rates, we saw an opportunity for large-scale crowd interaction and took the gamble that we could have crowds making the move. ‘art, seeing art, and thinking about art, ”Bijur said. “We contacted Downtown Santa Monica and they put us in touch with Starpoint.”
The downtown Santa Monica retail space has been hit hard – even before the pandemic – and Starpoint was eager to reactivate that space. Dijur said they were all eager to transform the Promenade space into something Santa Monica had never seen before.
“We are trying to create joy,” Dijur said. “When you see a kid putting cardboard together to make a hat, adding a few more pieces to make antlers, and turning it into an imaginary headgear, he sees that he can do something. They are creative and capable. The parents smile, the animators pass by. The artists in residence see all this positive energy.
Choose cardboard as support
The event emphasizes cardboard for many reasons, starting with its accessibility.
“Everyone saw a cardboard box,” Dijur said. “Children of all ages recognize it. They understand what it is. There is no learning curve to discovering what cardboard is.
For many years, reDiscover has worked with recyclables and industry discarded materials in all of its programs. Cardboard has been a part of it for many years. They have two vendors in particular. One of them gives them trucks full of boxes of household appliances that people can walk through, slice up and turn into epic pieces. Another supplier gives them micro-boxes for smaller projects.
Cardboard is structural and creates a bridge between the craft of paper and scissors and major construction. With cardboard boxes, artists can build large, three-dimensional objects, inviting children to explore key concepts in 21st century design.
“We help children to work with material in a creative way that allows them not only to make art, but also to solve engineering and engineering problems,” said Dijur.
He added that cardboard is just fun and everyone has had a positive experience playing in a cardboard box or making something like a playhouse, rocket, or train out of it.
“We are trying to bring happiness, especially this year after so many tragedies,” Dijur said.
Bring in artists
Cardboard City was built with several artists working together as a collective. A different artist is then in residence each week, creating a work that will make the city denser over the two months. Dijur encourages parents to take several trips to the city with their children to learn new art and engineering skills and to see the exhibits as they grow and build.
Artists created things like 12 foot sculptures, dresses and costumes made of cardboard, sea creatures made of cardboard. Some artists include Ann Weber, Sherri Madison, Lynn Christopher, Aaron Kramer, and Joshua Abarbanel.
While browsing the exhibition before the opening day, Dijur described one of Weber’s works, pointing out that she is a recognized artist in the world of cardboard art.
“She mainly works in large-scale biomorphic woven sculpture,” Dijur said. “They are huge and substantial, taller than me. She also does a remarkable job sculpting the space around the sculpture, often arranging several pieces in relation to each other. It’s just fantastic to see and it inspires a lot of thought on my part.
It’s this kind of inspiration that Dijur hopes visitors find when they visit Cardboard City, an inspiration that will make them want to turn to the art of cardboard.
For more information, visit rediscovercenter.org