The “Birds without Paradise” installation will be inaugurated on Jan. 11 with an opening reception
at 6 p.m. at Luce Court (across from The Lot, beyond the Galinson Family Fountain).
The project is a collaboration between Vesta, a Mexico-based industrial real estate developer, the San Diego Unified School District, the NTC Foundation and the San Diego-Tijuana Smart Border Coalition.
A similar installation premiered in Tijuana above Calle Segunda, from Constitución to Madero, in the center of the city’s downtown earlier this year. The project is being presented as a binational program to promote cooperation in the CaliBaja Mega-Region.
Birds without Paradise is created with indigenous materials, including corn husks, and decorated with brilliant colors by 350 schoolchildren with the participation of their teachers in seven schools. The activities, led by the artist Manuel Molina, have taken place on both sides of the border, with the participation of more than 800 children and volunteers in total.
The birds will hang in the Arts District’s Luce Court for four weeks, ending on Feb. 8. Participating schools include Correia Middle School, Creative Performing and Media Arts Middle School, Marshal Middle School, Muirlands Middle School, Montgomery Middle School, School for Creative and Performing Arts and Wilson Middle School.
“This project was not only really fun for me and my students, but it offered my students a chance to share their creativity and contribute to an art installation that is bigger than themselves,” said Suzanne Long, a teacher at Correia Middle School in Point Loma. “Having the opportunity to collaborate with Manuel Molina helped make this project relevant and meaningful for all students who participated.”
“This has been a terrific experience and opportunity for my art students,” said Patricia Cox, a teacher at Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla. “Projects like this build community, confidence, and attention to important issues. This collaborative work demonstrates that art can be expressive and beautiful, and at the same time be activism and voice – a change agent in one’s heart and in the larger society.”
The initiative was originally created by Molina, from Oaxaca, to raise awareness about the importance of stopping bird trafficking; however, the project has been transformed into an integrated binational program based on the concept of freedom. In this way, cooperation for prosperity is achieved through creativity and knowledge exchange.
“Smart Border Coalition is proud to support this creative and symbolic art project to unite our cross-border community,” said Gustavo De La Fuente, executive director of the San Diego-Tijuana Smart Border Coalition, which is located at Liberty Station and works as a catalyst to bring together leading governmental, academic, business and civic communities from both sides of the San Diego-Tijuana region.
“The NTC Foundation and Arts District Liberty Station are pleased to partner with Vesta, the San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego-Tijuana Smart Border Coalition to bring Molina’s ‘Birds without Paradise’ art installation to San Diego,” said Alan Ziter, NTC Foundation executive director.
“We’re especially excited by the school partnership to have San Diego students create the birds. Building on the success of last year’s ‘El Universal: 100 Years in the Life of Mexico and the World,’ our creative campus is again home to an art installation that helps strengthen the interrelationship between our binational communities,” Ziter said.
Lorenzo Berho, chairman of Vesta’s board, said: “The supreme human value is freedom, and what better way to have it expressed than by children, who show us the possibilities for the future with a clean and creative point of view in an innocent and sustainable proposal? We are proud and grateful for the esprit de corps that has been shown in order to bring together, even more, our two communities on both sides of the border.”