Category: Art Workshops

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.