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Visiting Artists & Authors

The Pilgrim School Visiting Artists and Authors Program is central to our dynamic and boundary-pushing arts education. Every year, Pilgrim invites a rotating group of artists and authors to share their work and perspectives with our students. We seek out vibrant and diverse talent to give students an opportunity to learn from individuals who challenge and inspire them. Visiting Artists and Authors Program is made possible thanks to the partnership we have with the Ahmanson Foundation. For over a decade, they have generously funded this program and we are truly grateful for their support.The Pilgrim School Visiting Artists Program is central to our dynamic and boundary-pushing arts education.

2023-24 Visiting Artists

Brandon John Lasalle (he/them) is a talented multi-disciplinary artist with a special interest in mural art, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Brandon came to work with our students from K-12 to do a mural based on the theme of inclusivity. Students thought about how Pilgrim is inclusive in neurodivergence, physical limitations, as well as race and religion and wanted to make sure all types of students were represented in the finished product. Students started with a doodle grid and ended with a sweet homage to the inclusion Pilgrim represents and is always striving towards. On your next visit, please come take a look at this beautiful mural, located on the 4th floor of the Seaver building, and also visible from Commonwealth Avenue.

Katrina Alexy (she/her) was born and raised in Los Angeles and has been creating art in various communities throughout LA as a guest artist and instructor for over 30 years. She specializes in art for community enjoyment created mainly from materials that might otherwise find their way into a landfill. Katrina is deeply passionate about the environment and tries to always incorporate green materials and/or designs that celebrate and honor nature...Currently Katrina is working on a mosaic near the LA River created from hundreds of salvaged Franciscan tiles fabricated at the former Franciscan Pottery factory site (now a Costco)only blocks away from the River in Atwater Village, Los Angeles. 

During Katrina's residency at Pilgrim School this year, she is working with the students to sort tiles and lay out a large-scale mosaic which will be installed alongside an exterior wall of the Seaver building, which will transform the balcony area into a cheerful space for years to come. We look forward to sharing pictures of the finished installation later this year.

Through this program over the years, students have learned about indigenous weaving and dying techniques while eating Oaxacan food, discovered how to integrate growing mushrooms into an artistic practice, and made art out of memes, among other experiences. In these workshops and conversations, students learn to think like artists and approach their practices in inventive and contemporary ways.

2023-24 Visiting Authors

Ada Ari is an award-winning children's author and she will be wrapping up our BHM celebrations. She has written a series of African folktales for children with beautiful illustrations, geography and cultural inserts, and universally applicable moral lessons among other fun features. Ada joined us with her specially designed school program that is tailored to each age group she meets. During her time visiting, she worked with Early Ed to 12th grade. Her program: African Storytelling Reimagined, centers around her book readings and includes an African dance session, interactions with authentic artifacts, cultural and geography lessons, and much more. Our students absolutely loved spending time with Ada, and enjoyed the opportunity to take home a signed copy of her book.

To kick off Black History Month, we had the distinct pleasure of hosting Nicola Yoon, author of Everything Everything, The Sun is Also a Star, and Instructions for Dancing all of which were #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition her first 2 novels were made into major motion pictures. She and her husband, David Yoon, co-publish Joy Revolution, a Random House YA imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. She is also the first black woman to hit #1 on the New York Times Young Adult bestseller list.

Additionally, we were joined by David Yoon, a Korean American author who writes both YA and adult novels. Two of his YA novels, Frankly in Love and Super Fake Love Song were also #1 New York Times bestsellers. Both authors talked about the writing process and the challenges of being authors of color in the publishing world. They are both also a part of We Need Diverse Books, a non profit that advocates for changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that is more diverse and inclusive of all readers.

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