By Karla Martinez
North Shore, Calif. —For one night, bright colors washed over the remains of old abandoned buildings in North Shore giving them new life. Residents who followed a dirt path lined with lanterns were treated to a show of lights and images at the “Projections” community event on Saturday night.
Local Eastern Coachella Valley artists were invited to project images and video onto several old buildings during the community event. Other artists nearby played music and performed spoken word and poetry.
With help from Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), a design organization based in Los Angeles, North Shore residents spent months planning the community event.
For the past two years, KDI has been working with North Shore residents to design a five-acre desert park. As part of their collaboration with the community, KDI worked with residents to create the North Shore Arts Committee, a group of residents dedicated to bringing artists and cultural events to the proposed park area.
Miriam Cervantes, a North Shore resident and volunteer with KDI, said the North Shore Arts Committee wanted to host a community event that would offer a different view of the decaying buildings in their community. That’s when the committee came up with the idea to project art onto the old buildings.
“The abandoned buildings located along Hwy 111 came up again and again … they contribute to outsiders’ negative perceptions of North Shore,” Cervantes said.
Cervantes said the residents of North Shore were tired of watching those abandoned buildings in their community decay.
Local artist and North Shore resident, Nick Flores said he was happy to participate in the community event. His artwork depicted a super hero’s hand drawn onto a blank canvas.
”They asked me if I could [participate], and I always try to put my art out there in the community,” Flores said.
Along with the projected art work, Purepecha tejidos were on display. Conchita Pozar displayed her colorful hand-stitched Purepecha skirts and shirts.
“I feel really good. I’m really proud to be able to present my tejidos here so other people can see the work that I do,” Pozar said. “My mother taught me how to create these tejidos, and it’s important to me because my grandmother taught my mother and it’s something very cultural where we come from.”
Another local artist, Daniel Morandos showed his short documentary that described his vision for the future of North Shore.
“Ideally, I would hope [North Shore] could turn into a center for the arts so we can have various events as the community grows throughout the years, and I want people to bring their events here to North Shore,” Morandos said.
North Shore resident, Jessica Gonzalez said she was excited to attend the Projections event and hopes the art committee will continue to plan cultural events in her community.
“There’s not a lot of places here where we can have the time to take in the richness of our culture and all the really beautiful things we have here in North Shore,” Gonzalez said. “Projections is a really good opportunity for all of us to take some time to think about our culture through the performances and the art.”
About the author:
Karla Martinez has been a youth reporter with Coachella Unincorporated for two years, where she has produced numerous articles and reflections on issues like community violence prevention to voter registration. In April 2015, Karla won the Young Lady of the Year Award for Riverside County District 4 for her work with the Land Use Planning Awareness project. View Karla’s author page here.