CLU’s Street Tapestry celebrates culture and diversity


Photo by Ashley Cope - Reporter

On Friday, April 22, Cal Lutheran students were completing their Street Tapestry on the spine.

Ashley Cope, Reporter

Throughout the week of April 18-22, the California Lutheran University community was able to participate in the Street Tapestry Event from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day on the spine.

The Street Tapestry Event is a collaboration between the Department of Languages and Cultures, Center for Global Engagement, Francophone Club, and Latin American Student Organization. This is the first year that this event has taken place on campus. Inspired by the Festival of Flower Gardens that take place in Brussels, Belgium and the Sawdust Carpets that take place in Guatemala; these events are both celebrations of cultural heritage and identity.

“We were thinking about bringing this to CLU to celebrate all the diversity, culture, and different cultural identities. In Belgium, for example, they do it every two years and they do it to celebrate the certain communities,” said Sophia Khadraoui-Fortune, Ph.D. professor of French in the Language and Cultures department.

The Flower Carpets in Belgium, which this event was inspired by, rotate which cultural heritage is being celebrated each year. The Flower Carpets are made out of begonias, dahlias, grass, and bark to create the intricate designs. These designs represent the culture that is being represented by the Flower Carpets that year and is made with the help of volunteers.

“The one in Brussels, I grew up not too far from it so I’ve seen it on the news. I haven’t seen it in person; I wish I did. But I was very excited when Dr. Fortune actually talked about it because this is something I’ve heard about before so it was really a blast to put it together here and see how we can adapt it,” said Lara Raynard, the assistant director for the Center of Global Engagement.

The Sawdust Carpets in Guatemala is a celebration of Easter each year. These carpets are created using sawdust, pine needles, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Similar traditions are also seen in other Central American countries.

“It was not realistic to plan it with flowers or something else as big as the one in Brussels. So we were brainstorming how to do that. We started to brainstorm to fill it with sand and we thought it would not be too possible especially with the wind so I am glad we went with paint,” Raynard said.

The Tapestry theme this year included Moroccan tile in the middle, then the following layer consisted of a Toucan representing Panama. On the outer layer of the tapestry are flags representing various Spanish, French, and German speaking countries as well as countries representing international students at Cal Lutheran. The mosaic art was painted by students, faculty and staff with bright colors of pinks, greens and oranges.

Many Language and Cultures department assistants came out to the Street Tapestry to help supervise the event. One of them being the German Language Department Assistant Leilani Horowitz.

“It’s really nice to be able to have an excuse to be outside, and something that brings me out of my dorm and out of my office to enjoy the sunshine,” Horowitz said.

The Street Tapestry event is also in celebration of Earth Day which happened on Friday, April 22.

Raynard says that when it comes to Earth Day the Center for Global Engagement always tries to find ways to incentivize students so that they can help show students the importance of the impact they have on the Earth.

“We wanted to hold the event after the break and it coincided perfectly with Earth Day which is a celebration of our planet, not only from an environmental point of view but also from a DEI point of view. In order to design a brighter future for all people, then individuals, communities, and nations have to come together,” Fortune said.

The Street Tapestry Event was sponsored by the Artists and Speakers Series, the Center for Academic Service Learning and the Office of Talent, Culture, and Diversity.