Thursday, July 14, 2022

Flags of Hope by Aubrey Laughlin

    Many folks are not aware that the Talent Public Arts Committee (TPAC) Flags of Hope display was collected before the Almeda Fire and slated to launch the weekend after fires burned through Talent, Phoenix, and our surrounding communities. With so much upheaval, loss, uncertainty, and changes in 2020, TPAC felt that we wanted to uplift the community collectively through art by remembering what brings us hope. As such, we created a pick-up station for flags and art supplies on my porch, and community members created art and messaging around what brings them hope. We had collected all of the flags by September 4, 2020 (four days before the fire), and they were to go on display on the back wall of the Talent Club the weekend of September 11-13th. The Almeda Fire occurred between the collection date and the display date for the Flags of Hope installation, and with all hands on deck trying to help with immediate fire aftermath needs, it did not go up until September 23, 2020.

    However, it really could not have happened at a more needed time. In fact, the messages of hope that we already needed in a hard year rang even more true during the aftermath of the Almeda Fire. Sixty-two flags adorned the back wall of the Talent Club for weeks declaring a fierce hope that we would make it through this tragedy as well. Powerful imagery and words reminded us what it takes to hold fast in the face of soul-wrenching adversity for many. Phoenixes, trees, handprints, flowers, hearts, sunrises, and symbols stood as heralds in the midst of destruction. We may never understand the timing or events that shape us, yet sometimes these things come together in ways that are beyond our reckoning. Such was the case for Talent’s Flags of Hope. May their words and images continue to bring healing to our valley. 

Aubrey Laughlin

Former TPAC Chair (2018-2022)

Flags of Hope Event Write Up on TPAC FB Page:

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     The purpose of this blog is to document the history of the Almeda Fire. To protect contributors, we have intentionally not allowed comm...