Our Stories

Building Bridges and Championing Art in Our Community

Refugee. Brave. Strong. Survivor. Tito Chilel Niz, Blair High School Student

Recently Blair High School’s International Academy students studied with writer/visual artist Sehba Sarwar about the history of immigrant communities and race issues in the Pasadena area. Their studies culminated in the creation of original art related to their own personal experiences as refugees, immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and members of a diverse, yet fractured community: Más Puentes y Menos Muros / More Bridges Less.

The grant for this art project was secured by the Pasadena Educational Foundation as part of our services to the district and funded in part by California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities; Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. It was cosponsored by Armory Center for the Arts.

Original public exhibition of the students’ art was delayed due to pandemic safety restrictions. Now it’ll be featured at Hybrid ArtNight Pasadena on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, along with the Blair Jazz Band, who will perform live outside the Armory Center. ArtNight is an annual event seen by thousands of participants and hosted by Pasadena-based arts, culture, and humanities institutions.

Banners of the students’ written word art have been placed strategically at Pasadena Unified Schools throughout the community with the assistance of PTA Council of PUSD (Parent Teacher Associations) and the Pasadena Educational Foundation.

They can be seen at the following locations:

Altadena Elementary

Don Benito Elementary

Field Elementary

Hamilton Elementary

Jackson Elementary

Longfellow Elementary

Madison Elementary

McKinley Elementary

Norma Coombs Elementary

Sierra Madre Elementary

Eliot Middle School

Sierra Madre Middle School

Washington Middle School

Blair High School

Special thanks to our partners Armory Center for the Arts, First District PTA Council, and PUSD PTAs for supporting PUSD Arts. You have helped build bridges and champion art in our community!