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The Victorian era meets modern art at Heritage Square

Castling, an eight-foot plywood sculpture, by Aitor Lajarin | Courtesy Aitor Lajarin

MONTECITO HEIGHTS —  An exhibit that opens this week at the Heritage Square Museum seeks to build a bridge between old Los Angeles and modern art.

Crickets, a solo-show featuring the work of Aitor Lajarin, is the first exhibit of Inhabit Heritage Square, a program intended to use the compound of 19th Century buildings and the surrounding neighborhoods as inspiration for contemporary Los Angeles artists.

The idea for the program came from independent curator Lucia Fabio, who volunteers at the Heritage Square kitchen garden and lives down the street from the compound of old homes and buildings that have been moved to a site next to the Arroyo Seco Parkway. It’s a big departure for Heritage Square, where most of the events and exhibits revolve around period themes, like An Evening of Edwardian Entertainment or a vintage fashion show and tea.

“My hope is that Inhabit Heritage Square will bring in a younger audience through contemporary art that will be interested in preserving the past of Los Angeles,” said Fabio. “There is so much rich materials with the history of the houses that were transported to Heritage Square, and also with the neighborhood itself ”

The inaugural show will include paintings, performances and installations scattered across the grounds. One piece, Castling, an eight-foot plywood sculpture, will “wander” around the grounds with the help of four performers. Lajarin, who was raised in Spain’s Basque region, also presents a collection of small paintings of modern-day living rooms from Montecito Heights area, providing a contrast to the ornate parlors of the Victorian homes at Heritage Square.

“By artists providing an alternative lens,” Fabio said in an email, “these exhibitions and events would be another reason for people to come back to visit Heritage Square.”

Crickets will be on exhibit from February 17- April 9. An opening reception is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 19 from 12 pm – 4 pm

Courtesy Aitor Lajarin

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