In the Works

Communities Connecting Heritage

Avenue 50 Studio x Athar Lina Initiative

Avenue 50 Studio Teams Up With Athar Lina Initiative in Cairo in an Artistic Effort to Preserve Cultural Heritage in Underserved Communities.

Communities Connecting Heritage(SM) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that is administered by World Learning. 

July 10, 2018

Athar Lina and Avenue 50 Studio artists and coordinators of the “Through Walls: A Heritage Dialogue” receiving Certificates of Recognition by Congressman Jimmy Gomez, for their ” continued commitment and dedication to celebrate and preserve cultural heritage through visual art.”

We like to extend special thanks to:

Communities Connecting Heritage(SM), the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, World Learning, Athar Lina, Avenue 50 Studio, Oxy Arts, Self-Help Graphics & Art, Highland Park Ebell Club, Highland Park Heritage Trust, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, Highland Park, Chamber of Commerce, Office of Congressman Jimmy Gomez, Councilman Gilbert Cedillo, Office of Community Beautification, Kaganville Woodworks, and Arroyo Arts Collective.

July 8, 2018

“This international community art exchange project has been my baby for two years. I never would have thought that writing my first grant would’ve been this successful. I really didnt believe that Ave 50 and I were going to get it. But we did.

I’ve had so many breakdowns putting this all together. I wanted to quit numerous times. I was balancing Grad School, work, and life while coordinating this and I don’t really know how I did it.

What pushed and motivated me was the support from my partner, family and friends. Our Egyptian project coordinator Ehsan Abushadi. Our administrative coordinator Allegra Padilla. Kathy Gallegos of Avenue 50. My tio’s David and Paul Botello and East Los Streetscappers.

And I can’t even begin to explain how proud I am of our LA and Egyptian artists – Nuria Oh, Grace Haynes, Valentina Zapata, Mai El Mostafa, Noura Ibrahim Slim, Fajr Soliman — I didn’t think I would get to work with this amazing team of woc artists and I feel very humbled and grateful to be able to be part of this exchange and experience with them.

This project is about connecting cultural heritage through community building and representation of womxn of color of diverse backgrounds. I feel so honored to have been able to work on this project in Cairo, Egypt and to create the second mural here in Highland Park – where we wanted to reclaim space and make a statement through this mural.

This mural was dedicated to the murals that have been whitewashed in Highland Park. With old and new waves of gentrification taking place, we wanted to show the developing area that you can try and displace us, you can try to change the facades of old businesses, and you can try to reshape the landscape… But you can NEVER erase the history, the gente, and the earth beneath us. It will always be there and the community will always be there to fight and keep the spirits/traditions alive.

Murals are the most purest forms of spreading messages “Through Walls”, empowering voices, and keeping our stories present. If our representation of community building, empowering other womxn of color, and uniting different cultural backgrounds into one collaborative piece has depicted this, then our statement has unapologetically taken up space.

Gracias por todos for all who came out yesterday to the unveiling and to all who’ve supported this project since day one. I can’t begin to describe what it means to me to be part of this communtiy or artists and supporters.

I also couldnt have done it without my incredible volunteers that helped with the mural, our film crew Bracero productions , funding and support by the State Department and World Learning, our fiscal sponsor avenue 50 studio. I’m sure I’m forgetting so many more, but you’re in my thoughts.”

-Miranda Ynez, Avenue 50 Studio Project Coordinator (via Facebook)

 July 8, 2018

“Moments like this make me feel like I’m on the right path. An amazing team of female artists from both Egypt and Los Angeles just finished up our mural here in Highland Park. We’ve been working on this project for a year and are super happy to see it come into fruition. We did a cultural exchange through mural making and now have completed two international murals that focus on women empowerment.

This was a life changing experience, and I’ve grown so much as a collaborator and an artist. If you’d like to check out the mural it’s in the Highland Park Theater.”

-Grace Haynes, L.A. muralist (via Facebook)


July 8, 2018

“Our presentation in Occidental College & exhibition in Avenue 50 Studio”

-Mai El Mostafa, Egyptian muralist (via Facebook)

 July 7, 2018

“Through walls : a heritage dialogue

A panel to share the experiences and vision at occidental college choi -auditorium”

-Fajr Soliman, Egyptian muralist (via Facebook)


July 7, 2018

“On Thursday the Egypt/LA mural team had a panel discussion at Occidental College regarding women in the arts, white washing of murals, culture and more. Each of the 6 of us artists spoke on ourselves and experiences. I am so grateful to be apart of such a dope team of women. Thru all of our ups and downs we sticked it through and uplifted each other to complete a mural in Cairo, Egypt and now one here in Highland Park. Thanks so much to the community for coming thru and embracing us 🙌🌈🎨 ”

-Nuria Ortiz, L.A. muralist (via Facebook)


July 1, 2018

“A happy colors…. Through walls
#thefutureisfemale #streetart #worldlearning #myculturemystory #communitiesconnectingheritage #nouraslim”

-Noura Ibrahim Slim, Egyptian muralist (via Facebook)

 June 24, 2018

“Don’t want to show you guys the whole thing just yet but here’s a lil snip of what I worked on today. I will be adding more of those huts from the bottom. They are from the Tongva people whose land we now occupy. A lil ode to them ✨ Also, i will be changing the flag at the top to the flag of Los Angeles 🎨💛 #highlandpark #msyellow@avenue50studio pictures 3 & 4 taken by @theechoparker 🙏”

– Nuria Ortiz, L.A. muralist. (via Instagram)


May 16, 2018

“Watching this mural come together is beyond words. The work of undoing patriarchy and misogyny is deep and takes creativity. The reflections of the experiences and thoughts from the artists seminar helped tie it all together. To see African, Egyptian and Chicana women represented on one wall is powerful.

These images are beautiful up close and from the street. This may be the largest mural in Egypt done by women. Truly an honor to support and we look forward to what magic we can make in Los Angeles.

Shokran beautiful people and land of Egypt and to Avenue 50 Studio Athar Lina World Learning

Stay tuned for more information as we prepare to host the Egyptian artists and coordinators in June/July.” -Allegra Padilla, Avenue 50 Studio, Program Coordinator

The Through Walls project is part of the Communities Connecting HeritageSM program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by World Learning . It is implemented in Cairo in collaboration with Athar Lina Initiative, and in the US in collaboration with Avenue 50 Studio.

May 1, 2018

“Should be asleep but feeling the excitement after our first day of the artists putting colors on the wall. It was a beautiful process to witness as people in the neighborhood started to come by. A reason why this particular wall was chosen was because it is next to a soccer field where only males play. It was beautiful to see these fierce creative warriors work during the sandstorm and be in collaboration with each other and the workers who are supporting the project.

We were blessed to share a collective lunch meal with the Athar Lina staff. This is a common practice in Egyptian workplace culture. The have been such incredible people to partner with and learn context about Cairo.

Much more to share stay tuned…thank you always to World Learning and Avenue 50 Studio for helping to make this happen!” -Allegra Padilla

#myculturemystory #latocairo#communitiesconnectingheritage #murals #thefutureisfemale #woca


“Beautiful opportunity to participate in a community exchange of Al Kahlifa. They taught us how to make Waraka Enab (wrapped vine leaves) and we taught them how to make tamales!!! Finding similarities and connecting our cultures is what this mural project is about.” -Miranda Ynez, Program Coordinator



April 29, 2018

“Our artists are out here in Egypt creating an international community mural for the next two weeks with our partner Athar Lina. This is the first day of our mural making process! We are so excited to be part of this cultural exchange.” -Miranda Ynez, Program Coordinator

World Learning #WorldLearning #MyCultureMyStory#CommunitiesConnectingHeritage

April 25, 2018

Tomorrow our Avenue 50 Studio artists will embark their journey from virtual exchange to flying toward Cairo, Egypt. From April 29 through May 13, Avenue 50 will meet with Athar Lina artists in Cairo to embrace and engage in Cultures Connecting Heritage. Throughout the upcoming months leading towards their departure to Cairo, Avenue 50 and Athar Lina artists have shared their experience, their culture and art with each other in order to draft ideas for a mural in Cairo.

In Egypt, the artists will go on a guided tour of Historic Cairo, where they will be exposed to a variety of monuments and historic buildings, some of which were integral parts of the basic infrastructure of the city and its society but with modernization became outdated. As artists explore how the city operated in the past they will start to identify its remnants in contemporary culture and be able to envision how heritage is very much tied to people today even though they may not know it. Part of the tour of Historic Cairo will also focus on motifs and patterns that may inspire the artists and/or ground some of the ideas and images that were explored during the virtual exchange.

As artists approach the center and then southern neighborhoods of Historic Cairo the tour will take them to different craft workshops that are still open and running today after three or four generations. These crafts will include carpentry, woodcarving, copper work, silversmiths, lantern makers, leatherwork, tent makers and more. As artists are exposed to the variety of crafts, the visiting artists will reflect and give examples of the same or similar crafts present in their Latino heritage and how they are applied differently.

An exhibition will be held at al-Khalifa Community Center telling the story of the exchange, including the silkscreen prints that the artists on the exchange will create, photographs and drawings from the trip, the process of the design of the mural with excerpts of history, visual inspirations, and more.

Stay tuned for more updates!


Avenue 50 to Cairo:   April 29 — May 13

Ramadan:   May 15 — June 14

Athar Lina to Los Angeles:  June 19 — July 10

February 6, 2018

I​n association with ​World Learning​ and the ​U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Programs Division in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs​:

Avenue 50 Studio​ is proud to announce that our organization has been selected to participate in ​Communities Connecting Heritage​ (SM)​, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that is administered by World Learning.

In partnership with ​Athar Lina Initiative ⎼ ​a participatory conservation initiative in Cairo, Egypt ​⎼ ​Our project, ​“Through Walls: A Heritage Dialogue”​, empowers young women and celebrates cultural heritage through visual art by creating two murals by each organization, one in Los Angeles, California, and the other in Cairo, Egypt.

We would like to congratulate our selected Los Angeles artists for this project:

Grace Haynes​, ​Nuria Ortiz​, ​Valentina Zapata

We would also like to give recognition to our project team members who are responsible for making this project come true:

Kathy Gallegos​ – Program Administrative Lead

Miranda Ynez​ – Program Coordinator

Allegra Padilla​ – Operations Coordinator
In addition, we are thrilled to be working closely on this project with Athar Lina’s team members:

Ehsan Abushadi​ – Program Coordinator

Aliaa elDardiry​ – Co-Program Coordinator

Mai El-Mostafa​ – Artist

Fajr Soliman​ – Artist

Noura Slim​ – Artist


August 22, 2017

Preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage is a critical step towards reconstruction, reconciliation and rebuilding of civil society in at-risk communities. That is why Avenue 50 Studio is proud to announce our new project titled Through Walls: A Heritage Dialogue. Through this program, Avenue 50 in a cultural exchange partnership with Athar Lina Initiative, a Cairo based arts organization, will invite three Los Angeles based artists to engage with three Cairo based artists in the following activities:  virtual exchange (including online conversations and planning sessions); mural making (murals will be constructed in both Los Angeles and Cairo), and; silk screening (final pieces will be exhibited at a date TBD).

Through Walls: A Heritage Dialogue is one of six new cultural heritage projects that has been selected by the U.S. Department of State and World Learning — a nonprofit organization committed to empowering people through education and global exchange programs — to receive funding as part of the inaugural Communities Connecting Heritage (CCH) exchange program.

CCH empowers youth to protect the cultural heritage of at-risk communities in the United States and around the world.  CCH exchange partners will educate all participants in skills and knowledge relevant to their projects, covering topics like digital storytelling and the role of artists in communities.

The virtual exchanges will commence in early 2018, leading up to the in-person exchanges and public exhibitions that will take place in June 2018.

Avenue 50 Studio and Athar Lina are active participants in the preservation of our respective Mexican American and Egyptian cultures through the heritage of the built environment.



Avenue 50 Studio is pleased to announce that we are undergoing a final approval process to participate in a cultural international exchange project through World Learning. World Learning is an international nonprofit organization that focuses on international development, education, and exchange programs.

As a final candidate for their “Communities Connecting Heritage” project, Avenue 50 Studios will be partnering with Athar Lina Initiative, a participatory conservation initiative that aims to establish the preservation of cultural heritage located in Cairo, Egypt.

While we’re waiting for the approval, cross your fingers in hopes we get accepted and read below for more information on this incredible project:

The CCH partnership between Avenue 50 Studio and Athar Lina Initiative has one common goal: to celebrate and preserve cultural heritage through visual art that speaks to and empowers our at-risk communities by creating two murals, one in Los Angeles, California, and the other in Cairo, Egypt.

By tieing in tangible and intangible contemporary cultural heritage and ancient heritage between two cultures, we aim to find similarities between Egyptian and Latino cultures we can use to preserve, honor, and evolve our traditions through our mural project.

We aim to seek commonalities between our two cultural groups in order to build further understanding of the value of not only preserving cultural monuments and histories, but of observing commonalities between cultures that individuals may not be familiar with.

However, how does one define community and place through another’s cultural heritage? By taking into account where other communities come from, we start to see multicultural identities being formed into one another.

It’s important to note that culture is not an institution or a tool for displacement. By creating two murals that highlights two distinct cultures in two diverse cities, we will impact accessibility and inclusiveness that engages the community and contributes to the empowerment of creating dialogue around each culture.

Our murals will be created by a team of young women. This project grants them the opportunity to be involved in the shaping of public space and be the voice and leaders for the community. We take this opportunity to provide women artists with the chance of participating in the creation of public art and public space, a field and location they are often marginalized from.

Our objective is to build bridges of understanding between our two cultures by using murals as our pathway to discuss cultural preservation and history. We celebrate commonality through the forum of public art that sparks conversation in each other’s underserved communities.

Stay tuned for more information regarding our final approval process!