La Crescenta Library showcases teen-designed chairs

County teens took "reading from a chair" to a new level this summer with an exhibit at the La Crescenta Library this week.

Dubbed "The Library Chair," the exhibit showcases wooden chairs transformed into art pieces. Each chair was created by a Teen Advisory Board at County of Los Angeles Library locations including La Crescenta, East Los Angeles, Sunkist and Hawthorne. The exhibit has travelled since May.

"This is a way to get teens creative with their thoughts and reading," said Teresa Saldana, the teen librarian at La Crescenta Library. "Visitors have enjoyed seeing the chairs and have been impressed by the quality of the work."

Nine teens collaborated on the wooden chair from La Crescenta: Sacha Greenfield, Makayla Abdi, Natalie Geragosian, Rita Panjarjian, Ruby Panjarjian, Lena Panjarjian, Nathaniel Thompson, Parshva Mody and Cameryn Goodman. From top to bottom, the chair displayed "thought bubbles" representing oratory storytelling, early forms of reading such as illuminated manuscripts of religious texts, hieroglyphics and even cave-wall paintings. Nathaniel Thompson, 17, created a mock Amazon Kindle from plexiglass, bearing the covers of popular novels "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay," "Divergent" and "The Catcher in the Rye" by popular authors Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth and J.D. Salinger.

They chose the theme "Reading through the Ages."

Nathaniel, a Crescenta Valley High School senior, said the novels are a representation of novels youth read on their own alongside assigned school work, such as Salinger's praised classic. He said the art piece should give visitors a glimpse into reading's shift over the centuries although the La Crescenta chair touches on many aspects of storytelling.

"People now read by listening to audio. It encourages reading in the future," said Nathaniel, who joined the La Crescenta Library teen board last year. "This project expresses how reading and technology have progressed and grown."

The teen advisory boards spent roughly five months creating sitting pieces of art. The project was a first for the boards, who usually assist the community libraries with programs geared toward fellow youth. The chairs, lined behind a red velvet rope, incorporate a variety of themes from reading, community and nature.

The teens were tasked with sanding the chairs and depicting the theme visually. Teens at the Sunkist Library in La Puente created their own "Tree of Knowledge," an orange tree sitting atop books, and community, a line of people holding hands on the chair's back. From Agoura Hill's Library, the three-member teen board chose John Green's novel-turned film, "The Fault in Our Stars." The three-member teen board covered the chair with pages from a damaged copy of the book and a swing set, symbolizing what holds together the relationship of the novel's main characters, Hazel and Augustus.

"It's interesting the variety of ideas and approaches to literature this project took," Nathaniel said.

La Crescenta Library marks the exhibit's final stop. The exhibit ends April 23 and can also be viewed during the Crescenta Valley Town Council meeting in the library meeting room Aug. 21. For more information about visiting the exhibit, contact the La Crescenta Library at (818) 248-5313.

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