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Behind the Scenes

A Grand Opening: 826LA at Mar Vista



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In Behind the Scenes, Calligraphy, Work in Progress


Back in November I had the special pleasure to calligraph a scroll of donor names at the grand opening event of 826LA‘s Mar Vista location. I’d been a volunteer at 826’s after school tutoring program for awhile and when I heard they were looking for a creative way to showcase the names of their new location’s founding donors, I leapt at the chance. At the evening’s event, those donors who made sizable contributions to the organization watched me calligraph their names onto a delicate, yellowing scroll. To be precise, it was a vintage player piano scroll of a Greek traditional song, bought for me at the Rosebowl Flea market way back in 2011 by my dear calligraphy friend Mara of Neither Snow. Mara bought an identical one for herself and we vowed to each other that we would save them until the perfect, most unbeatably-awesome excuse to use them arose. I considered this such an occasion. I used a Brause EF66 nib and walnut ink I’d mixed from crystals, which lent the calligraphy an aged, vintage look.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the 826 program, it’s a nation-wide, free tutoring service for kids K–12. From

826 National is a nonprofit organization that provides strategic leadership, administration, and other resources to ensure the success of its network of eight writing and tutoring centers. 826 centers offer a variety of inventive programs that provide under-resourced students, ages 6-18, with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. We also aim to help teachers get their classes excited about writing. Our mission is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

Since its founding in San Francisco in 2002 by award-winning author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 has sparked students’ imaginations. Fanning the sparks into full-blown creative wildfires, 826 centers across the country offer free programming for students. Our celebration of writing, learning, and arts education engages under-resourced youth, enabling them to flare up and rise to their full potential. (Read more…)

+ You can read more about the event and my contribution to it on the 826LA blog, here.

+ Learn how to volunteer at one of the eight 826 locations around the country (LA, Chicago, Brooklyn, San Fran, DC, Seattle, and Ann Arbor).

+ Visit 826LA’s Online Time Travel Mart. Proceeds go to the 826LA program.

{ Calligraphy by Plurabelle | Photography by Malktime | Special Thanks to 826LA }

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  1. Dearest Molly,

    This is so incredibly awesome! You are inspiring me to do something with my scroll (namely: unpack it from storage in Philadelphia). I think what I love best is that the song is in Greek. How stupendously appropriate. XOXO

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