Why would Alhambra High School students, born three decades after the end of the 1960s, create an organization to preserve its legacy? For Brenda Chi the decade was about innovation and creation – goals that those growing up in the 2000s still share. “From the social change, the music, the war – everyone wanted to make a change, they wanted to make a statement,” said Chi, who graduated from AHS in June and is studying illustration at the Art Center College of Design. “It resonates with a lot of artists today.”
Chi is one of the founding members of The Society for the Preservation of the Sixties, a nonprofit organization based on an Alhambra High School collaborative exhibition project, which will host an exhibition that opens Tuesday at the West Covina Public Library. The display, entitled “Magic Carpet Ride,” will feature artwork and memorabilia from the 1960s, including apparel, album covers, posters and political artifacts which Alhambra High School students and recent graduates collected and curated.
Chi — along with fellow founding members Nellie Ruiz, now at University of La Verne, and Naiomi Thomas, at Pasadena City College — designed the exhibition. They hope it will inspire visitors to continue to fight for progress and create change. “It's just something to inspire people today to create things and think about things in ways others never have before,” Chi said.The society is the outgrowth of an exhibit at Alhambra High, which students created with the help of Terry Cannon, then library technician at the school. The students created 45 pieces to display based on the artwork of the decade and the political and social activism of the era. The exhibit also featured ‘60s memorabilia and a weekly film series of documentaries and rare concert footage.
As the project began to attract attention, larger city libraries became interested in featuring the artifacts and artwork in their own display cases, and members of the media inquired about what inspired the students to focus on the past. “I think there was a lot of interest in how students of today perceived that decade,” Cannon said.
The exhibit will be at West Covina Public Library from Jan. 4, 2011-Feb. 23, 2011.For directions to the West Covina Public Library and information about hours ofoperation, visit www.colapublib.org/libs/wcovina.