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City Heights Art Installation On Memory Finds New Home

City Heights nonprofit The AjA Project is hosting

Photo by Jena Olson, The AjA Project

Above: City Heights nonprofit The AjA Project is hosting "The Nature of a Door is to be Opened" in its formal gallery space on Fairmount Avenue.

City Heights artist Brandi Maddelena and volunteers disassembled a row of boxes filled with colorful sculptures and audio players queued with sweet recordings of children earlier this month.

Opening A Door Into Childhood Memory

Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

Artist Brandi Maddelena enlists the children of City Heights to create an installation for the whole community. Warning: some of this content is unbearably cute.

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

Each box held a sculpture paired with audio of a child talking about his or her favorite memory. The piece celebrates childhood experience and shows the diversity of City Heights, where stories from Sudanese children play next to Vietnamese and Latino.

The exhibit closed Jan. 4, but the memories aren't fleeting just yet.

"The Nature of a Door is to be Opened" has moved to City Heights' only formal gallery space at The AjA Project offices. AjA Executive Director Sandra Ainslie said the installation is a natural fit for the space.

"This piece is a perfect addition to AjA’s new community gallery in City Heights," Ainslie said. "It builds collaboration with other artists whose work is also geared toward elevating the voice of City Heights youth and residents.”

AjA teaches neighborhood youth photography as a means of exploring their identities. Students often turn their lenses to refugee life or growing up in a dense, urban environment.

The AjA gallery is located at 4089 Fairmount Ave. and is open to the public 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. It's also available to schools and large groups by appointment.

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