Author: Allegra Bick-Maurischat

WILD ART PROGRAM AT EUCALYPTUS ELEMENTARY

We are so pleased to be offering our Wild Art program to almost two hundred 3th and 4th graders at Eucalyptus Elementary in Hawthorne, CA this semester. We are already halfway through our session there – time is flying by!

If you aren’t familiar with Wild Art – here’s a little about the program…

Our curriculum is specially designed to blends visual arts lessons (color theory, composition, drawing, and painting techniques, etc.,) with ecology and conservation education – all focused on local wildlife. Participants are each working to create a final “project”:  a painting of a threatened wildlife species that will be part of an on-campus installation. They are responsible for not only designing and painting their final project, but also creating the canvas upon which it is painted. Here’s the really fun part – these canvases are made from REUSED PLASTIC BAGS! Yep, we developed a system of fusing together old plastic bags collected from around the community so that each student could truly see the ecological impact of their project – start to finish – and become more aware of their plastic use. Also, the plastic material is durable and waterproof – which will come in handy when these final paintings are installed as community mural on campus at Eucalyptus Elementary next spring.

Our participants are working with young, professional artists to learn artistic skills and theories, and we hired three amazing new Artist Mentors especially for this program! You can learn more about them all here. The students also receive environmental education from a wildlife expert courtesy of our friends at Natural History Museum Los Angeles to learn about the incredible biodiversity that exists in their own backyards, parks, schools, and neighborhoods.

We hope that Wild Art will be the first step in leading young people to engage in their local community and possibly beyond Los Angeles. More than anything, we believe in the importance of allowing young students to see the direct connection between their creative work and local conservation efforts. These young people not only creating a platform to creatively express themselves and connect to nature in L.A, but to take ownership of and create change in their community.

Follow us on Instagram for updates & pics from inside the classroom, and click here to see footage from our 2017 Wild Art installation at the LA Zoo!  

Here are some recent pics of the program! Stay tuned for the mural install in the spring!

How Does Educating Girls Help Heal the Planet?

In order to answer the question posed in the title of this blog, we’re going to walk you through the Community Listening Project, which wrapped up last week at Lifeline Charter School in Compton, CA. 

We were both challenged and inspired throughout this semester-long program, and learned a lot along the way! As you may know, RuckusRoots usually runs larger-scale programs and events, so this project provided a rare chance to work closely with a small group of young teen girls through our partnership with Girls, Inc .

Our focus in this program was to teach the girls about the power of listening, research and data collection. We wanted to explore the idea that when opinions are backed up by fact, your voice can be even more powerful! Artistically, the girls learned photography and graphic design skills, and used them to create protest posters about their research topics.

Our work began at the beginning of the spring school semester, and we launched right in with a film screening of “Little Stones” by rising filmmaker Sophia Kruz, which follows the lives of four women using their creativity to improve the lives of their peers and empower them to fight gender oppression. We spent hours talking about how art can be harnessed as a tool for social change, discussed some examples of this, and asked each other what we most wanted to see changed in our local communities. As this program was all about listening, we quickly learned through classroom interviews and surveys with the local community that the topic of SELF-LOVE was something the girls wanted to address as a theme. The idea of self-love encompasses many of the smaller issues and concerns that the girls wanted to explore, like bullying, gender stereotypes, body image and beauty standards. 

How does this relate to sustainability? We asked ourselves this same question. The concept of “self-love” is a complex social issue that speaks to happiness and quality-of-life, both of which are important factors in creating sustainable communities. And when we delved deeper into many of the issues faced by girls and women around the world today, we found some illuminating research.  When girls are taught to value, support and encourage themselves and each other, they are more likely to grow up into empowered young women. And guess what? Women like this are one of the most constructive forces to levy social change, according to environmentalist and best-selling author Paul Hawken. Research shows that educated and engaged women have greater economic independence, happier, healthier, more productive families, and contribute to lower mortality rates worldwide. They can be more effective stewards of food, soil, trees, and water. In fact, Project Drawdown rates the education of women and girls as the 6th most effective action we can take as a society to reverse the current climate crisis! 

We truly enjoyed seeing the participants come up with creative and insightful ideas on their chosen topic of self-love. Drawing inspiration from our class discussions of street art, photography and protest art, the girls learned to illustrate their thoughts visually. Working first on paper to sketch and lay out their ideas, they then worked with several design apps to create their finished posters. They turned out beautifully! We even drew inspiration from these designs and turned them into T-shirts!

 Scroll down for a sampling of completed student posters, photos from the program, and an info graphic revealing the results and discoveries of the girls’ research. We took these results and posters to local school leaders to address the identified issues of bullying and suicide among teen girls in Compton, and successfully advocated for a no-tolerance bulling policy at the school.

We will be sharing stories from the program and posters at Story Bazaar, on Sunday June 24th – join us! 

To learn more about this program, visit our Community Listening Project page. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Program Updates: ARTivism, “Little Stones”, and Self-Love

Hey all! 

It’s time to share some updates about our program progress over at Lifeline Charter High School and Girls, Inc.

The Community Listening Project is in full swing and we’ve already completed our third session with the students. Christine and Allegra have been busy behind the scenes both designing the curriculum and running the day-to-day sessions in the classroom with our new artist mentor, Rocky Natalicchio. (To learn more about Rocky’s work as an activist and photojournalist, click here!) 

Our first session was focused on getting to know one another and introducing the project itself. We talked to our participants about how art can be harnessed as a tool for social change and discussed some examples of this in our local LA communities. We were also lucky enough to watch the documentary film, “Little Stones” by rising filmmaker Sophia Kruz, which follows the lives of four women using their creativity to improve the lives of their peers and empower them to fight gender oppression. Our participants responded well to the film’s content and we finished up the day feeling both inspired and excited for the work to come! 

 

Our next objective to tackle was choosing a theme and overall focus for the program. We discussed this with the girls during the second session and reach consensus as a group – this program is, after all, about what they see in their communities and what is important to them! What began as a quick brainstorm turned into an engaging conversation on wide array of topics ranging from bullying prevention to beauty standards. We finally choose SELF-LOVE as the overall theme for our semester together, as the idea of self-love encompasses many of the smaller issues and concerns that the girls wanted to explore.  It also relates to sustainability because “self love” is a social issue that encompasses happiness and quality-of-life, both of which are important factors in creating sustainable communities. 

In our third session we dove into the interview process and came up with questions as a class that the girls will use to interview their friends, family and neighbors about our topic of self love.  We will use the data they collect to find out how our community members feel around the issue of self-love. We will also use our findings to inform our artwork- photos and graphic design posters! 

We couldn’t be more excited for the next step! Remember, if you enjoyed this update on the Community Listening Project, follow us on Instagram and Facebook because we’re always posting program pics (and other fun stuff) throughout the week! 

Community Listening Project Launches this week!

Happy 2018, folks! This month transitioned us into a new year, and with it, a bunch of exciting developments for our organization! 

We are pleased to announce that our Community Listening Project (funded by Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot) launches this week at Lifeline Charter School in Compton, CA. 

This exciting program, in collaboration with our community partners at the L.A. chapter of Girls, Inc., will empower young women with the education and tools needed to be effective leaders in their communities.  We’ve designed a dynamic curriculum aimed at teaching our participants how to effectively:

  • Make connections about gender inequality and how sustainability concerns adversely affect women, both within their local communities and across the globe
  • Use technology ask questions and strategically gather data about their communities 
  • Communicate effectively through visual tools such as symbolism, photography, drawing and graphic design
  • Create, and participate in the installation of, a guerilla-style wheat paste poster installation to raise awareness of a sustainability issue
  • Utilize tools for civic engagement to build relationships with both community members and leaders

The project will culminate in the students using these materials to create a presentation for local government leaders (i.e. neighborhood council or city council) on the top 2-3 sustainability issues affecting their women in their community today! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To help us in the Community Listening Program, we are enlisting the aid and skills of our newest artist mentor, Raquel Natalicchio! Author of recent publication, Spray for Peace, Raquel has most recently worked as a mentor to young women through LA-based Las Fotos Project. She also travels internationally working as a photojournalist! Check out more of her work and current projects here! We know she is going to be a wonderful asset to our team and an inspiring role model of our program participants, so we’re very excited to have her on board! 

And last but not least: we’ll be organizing a public event in the late Spring! We want to give these young women at Lifeline Charter the opportunity to present both their data and artwork at a local community event to further build interest and engagement around these sustainability issues! Stay tuned, and make sure to follow RuckusRoots on Instagram and Facebook – we’ll be posting lots of photos and updates from the classroom as the Community Listening Project kicks into gear! 

 

Community Listening Project Launches in 2018 with Girls, Inc

Thanks to funds from our friends at LUSH Cosmetics our newest program, The Community Listening Project , will launch in early 2018. We are piloting this program in collaboration with the LA chapter of Girls, Inc , a partnership we are honored and excited to announce! 

Girls, Inc , is a nationally-recognized nonprofit providing “at-risk” girls with life-changing support and real solutions to the unique issues they face. The Los Angeles Chapter serves Title I schools in South Los Angeles, Watts and Compton, with populations challenged by family poverty, gang violence and homelessness. We’ll be working with the high school girls from Lifeline Charter School in series of after school sessions alongside Girls, Inc for this program and a 3rd installment of Chimes for Change immediately afterwards! 

The Community Listening Project is specifically designed to teach participants the skills they need to connect to their communities and deepen their impact at the grassroots level!

Students will learn: 

  •  to interview community members about sustainability issues that impact their daily lives; i.e. traffic, pollution, littering, etc.
  • to compile and analyze data using technology
  • to create visual graphics and individual art pieces (chimes, songs) to illustrate the major issues and concerns in their community
  • the fundamentals of community organizing and civic engagement

This project will culminate in the students using these materials to create a presentation for local government leaders (i.e. neighborhood council or city council) on the top 2-3 sustainability issues affecting their community right now. They’ll also be presenting their data and artwork at a local community event (TBA!) to further build interest and engagement around these important issues affecting us all! 

We can’t wait to get started!

Many thanks to everyone for the continued support of RuckusRoots and the work we do! You’ll be hearing more from us soon as we share our preparations to launch these new programs and announce our End-of-Year-Giving campaign, so stay dialed in and make sure you’re following our social channels for all the fun behind-the-scenes sneak peaks!

RuckusRoots Receives LUSH Cosmetics Charity Pot Grant!

Hello everyone!

We’ve missed you! It’s been a super busy summer…read on to find out everything the RuckusRoots team has been up to these last few months.

First up – We are super excited to announce that we have been awarded a grant through our partner, LUSH Cosmetics, for the second year in a row! The Lush Charity Pot has generously granted our organization over $20,000 in funds to continue our Chimes for Change curriculum and to launch a brand new program in the Spring of 2018. We can’t wait to announce the details soon! You can read more about our last Chimes for Change project in collaboration with Tortoise Industries, local artist, James Peterson, and the high school students of Larchmont Charter School here. 

Next up on our list of announcements: the successful installation MÚCARO on the playa at Burning Man 2017. Our dear friend and artist mentor, El NiNo, became the first Puerto Rican to receive the Burning Man Honoraria Grant to build MÚCARO this summer, and we were thrilled to lend a hand in the process! The giant owl structure represented the island of Puerto Rico and was dedicated to arts education; specifically the artist’s mother, Mrs. Hilda Alicea, who worked as a teacher for more than 45 years encouraging kids to pursue their dreams. We encountered many teachers and arts advocates on the playa who were touched by this installation personally, and we were so proud of how well NiNo’s work was received! 

Another cool aspect of the piece was its interactivity. Viewers could walk inside the owl through a door under the wing, climb a spiral staircase 32 feet up into the owl’s head to peer out the eyes onto the desert below. The head also spun around to give participants a 360 degree view of the playa. 

Now that the burn is over, we want to keep spreading the MÚCARO love and support! You can still purchase these sweet little owl pendants (designed by the artist) and all proceeds will be donated to the resilient people of Puerto Rico, in efforts to rebuild after the recent hurricane. P.S these pendant necklaces make great gifts – get your holiday shopping done early! WWW.LEAVEITTONiNO.COM 

We’ve got several exciting collaborations with local L.A organizations in the works for this fall/winter, and we are busy working develop our strategic plan for 2018! Are you subscribed to our mailing list yet? If not, you can do so here  – we’ll be launching a series of exciting new videos and tools for edits Check out our Facebook and Instagram for little snippets of the action as it unfolds, and we’ll be back again soon to share more! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did it!

Hey everyone!

We had an amazing opening night June 2nd at ArtShareLA and loved the opportunity to show our latest Chimes for Change project in a prominent downtown gallery. This is was especially meaningful to our high school students, who made a special field trip to hang their chimes on our giant metal tree and check out in the gallery for the afternoon! If you were able to make it to our opening night, you might have seen several of the students there!

We have so many people to thank for helping out with Chimes for Change! It was a huge undertaking and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the following superstars!

  • James Peterson, (tree designer and project planner)
  • Steve Shatkin & Tortoise Industries (our incredible tree fabricators)
  • Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot (incredible project sponsors for student ipads)
  • Erinn Bone (music mentor extraordinaire)
  • NiNo Alicea, Regina Clemente, Scott Froschauer, James Peterson and all of our fabulous artist mentors who helped with student chime-building)
  • Jeffrey Sapin (ever-patient teacher and project supervisor at Larchmont Charter High School)
  • ArtShareL.A (thanks for hosting our installation!)
  • All of our amazing and generous crowdfunding sponsors for helping finance the project!

 It’s always bittersweet to finish up a big, semester-long project like this one! But we are really proud of the student work, and the reception this installation received from the greater public. If you weren’t able to make it to the gallery to see this interactive installation, you can visit

www.chimesforchange.org

to see photos of each student’s chime, read their artist statement, and listen to their recorded song – all through the website!

We’ll be spending this summer revamping our website, doing some fundraising and dreaming up new plans for upcoming projects – so make sure you’re following us on social media and are signed up for newsletter updates so you stay in the loop with all the changes coming about! 

photos: Ramon Flores 

You’re Invited…

Hello everyone! 
We’d like to take this opportunity to formally invite you to the opening event of our latest Chimes for Change project in collaboration with Tortoise Industries and the students of Larchment High Charter School! 

Join us for this very special evening of audio-visual artwork, student presentations, and ARTivism hosted by our friends at ArtShareL.A! 

  • Explore the large, metal tree sculpture displaying wind chimes made from found and recycled objects!
  • Participate in a “silent listening party” of student-made electronic music!
  • Discover sustainability facts and figures collected by student-assembled sensors!
  • Mingle with artist mentors and meet the students behind the chimes!
  • Gather with us as we “chime in” about how art can transform our community!

We’d like to extend a thank you to Larchmont Charter School for hosting our program and Tortoise Industries for donating fabricaiton of our interactive tree sculpture, designed by James Peterson! A special thanks to LUSH Charity Pot for making the iPads used in this program possible. And thank you to all our wonderful art mentors, volunteers and students who worked so hard to make this project come to life. 

P.S Make sure to bring headphones and a smart phone so you can participate in the silent listening party – each chime is accompanied by a QR code that will lead you to a song and statement by each student artist!

RSVP soon to reserve your tickets! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chimes-for-change-opening-reception-tickets-33795666749 

Chimes for Change Event Announcement!

Our students at Larchmont High have been really hard at work these past few months designing their chimes and learning from our Artist Mentors in the process. Our vision for hanging these beautiful chimes from a portable, tree-like form have come true – and the end result is going to be amazing! We’ve been extremely lucky in our partnership with Tortoise Industries for the fabrication part of this project, and we’re happy to say that work has begun on the structural elements of the tree! 

With the design process completed and construction underway, we are thrilled to announce that the big launch and project unveiling of Chimes for Change is going to take place Friday, June 2nd in the exhibitions space at Art Share L.A! Founded in 1997, they maintain a large warehouse in the heart of the DTLA Arts District, and are been committed to being a thriving community-focused arts space in Los Angeles. Art Share provides affordable housing, studios, and performance space for local artists- which makes them a unique and much-needed force in the development of artists and community organized projects (like Chimes for Change) who might not have the benefit of widespread exposure, major gallery backing, or exhibition space.

 

The festivities will begin at 7pm and will include student presentations, light refreshments and more information about what we do here at Ruckus Roots. More importantly, this is an opportunity to interact with this beautiful sound and sculptural installation you’ve been hearing so much about! Partnering with Art Share for this opening event gives our students an opportunity to see their work displayed in a professional gallery space and interacting with a broader public – so we really hope we can see you and your friends there!

Mark your calendars for June 2nd and stay tuned for more details as the event gets closer – we’re sure to have more than a few surprises up our sleeves 🙂 Last thing: a huge thank you goes our to everyone who helped support, fund, design and bring with this project to fruition – see you at Art Share in June! 

 

 

 

 

ARTIST MENTOR SPOTLIGHT: NiNo Alicea

In our new Artist Mentor Spotlight feature, we’ll introduce you to one of our incredible teaching artists and give you an opportunity to get to know them a little better!

First up: Nino Alicea! 

In addition to his work with Ruckus Roots as a visual art and design mentor, Nino is a muralist, painter and sculptor living and working in the Los Angeles area.  With a background in graphic design and design production, Nino has been involved in production work for both television and film in the past. For several years, he worked as a Design Producer for NBC’s American Dream Builders, and in 2014, he was part of the team that installed Pae White’s “Woven Walk” at LAX. Most recently, Nino was named as art director of Ricky Martin’s current stage show!  

Nino has been essential in both our Wild Art project, a sculpture publicly installed at the Los Angeles Zoo during its Wild for the Planet event, April 23-May 22, 2016, and our latest, Chimes for Change! Check out his work with our students below, explaining the fundamentals of balance in design before they begin concept work for their chimes!

Nino says his “…ultimate goal is to inspire others to continue creating and dreaming big.” Nino’s dreams have definitely been big lately! His debut Burning Man art piece, called “Got Framed” (2016) was a huge hit on the playa last year, and was recently featured in National Geographic Travel February/March 2017 issue! In addition, we’re excited to announce that Nino is officially a Burning Man 2017 Honoraria Grant Recipient for his latest project, “Mucaro”!

Múcaro (MOO-ka-roe) or “owl” in Spanish, is both an homage to the artist’s mother, and a symbol of arts education/learning – not to mention a simply breathtaking 30ft installation! This massive owl structure will survey the playa at Burning Man with a 360 degree view by day, and emit beams of light by night. It also features spiral staircases that enables people to actually enter the structure, climb up to the lighthouse-like head, and take in the view! 

Obviously, this is a massive undertaking, and really elaborate project that Nino’s pursuing. It’s taken a lot of hard work, months of planning, and he’s almost there with the funds to achieve the last step of Mucaro! Nino and RuckusRoots are teaming up for a fundraising Gala in the coming months – the proceeds of which will be benefitting both our organization and the final stages of Nino’s piece! Stay tuned for event details coming soon – we’d love to see you there! 

Congratulations again, Nino! We appreciate all of the time, dedication and creative energy that you give to RuckusRoots! 

(P.S to learn more about the Mucaro, the project plans and the team helping to make it a reality, click here! )