Visions of Community
In Western films, television, literature, and art, the individual is often portrayed as the hero of the American West. In reality, communities have thrived as the heart and soul of the region for thousands of years. Countless Western communities, made up of individuals brought together through shared experiences, reflect the diversity of the individuals who comprise them.
From the earliest Native communities cultivating crops together to congregations worshipping together, from citizens providing services for new immigrants to women creating businesses together, communities unite us and remind us that, even as individuals, we are not alone.
For our fifth annual Student Visual Arts Exhibition, we asked the students of Southern California to create works of art that reflected, explained, and defined their ideas of community. The art pieces that comprise Visions of Community, submitted to the Autry in early March of 2020, illustrate a snapshot of the way students viewed community before the Covid-19 pandemic struck Los Angeles.
Absent in this exhibition are depictions of healthcare workers, first responders, social distancing, masks, Zoom classrooms, or empty grocery shelves. What we have instead is a time capsule of what community meant to students before our lives changed forever. As you explore the gallery, we invite you to ponder how your vision of community may have changed over the past year and a half.