Category: Sustainable Lifestyle

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! 

 

RuckusRoots featured on One Green Planet

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The supercool website One Green Planet recently asked me, founder of RuckusRoots, to write an article about how we can use art to fight for the planet. I was pleased to contribute my views on ARTivism, as well as mention some of my favorite artists who expertly blend the worlds of art and eco-activism.

Check out the article, and let us know: how do you use art to fight for the planet?

Mid-Program Progress: Still Life Drawings by Highland Park Youth

a student creates her still life drawing
A student creates her still life drawing

As part of our newest Urban Wildlife program, students first learn color theory, composition and still life drawing skills before moving on to the bigger, collaborative project. This video shows their mid-program progress.

We have some very talented students in these classes of 8th and 9th graders, and are so excited for the opportunity to offer them arts education, which they would not otherwise receive. Take a look at their skilled work!

This week we move on to urban wildlife education with local experts, planning our big art piece and writing about nature in Los Angeles. Each student will receive a template of a threatened Los Angeles animal that he/or she will paint. All these small pieces will be put together into one permanent art piece over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

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Spring Ahead with RuckusRoots

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Top: endangered wildflower, the Chocolate Lily, spotted in Griffith Park. Bottom left: seedlings from our urban garden sprouting. Bottom right: Behr’s metalmark endangered Butterfly spotted in Griffith Park

There’s nothing like Daylight Savings Time to really make Spring come alive. And with the Spring weather and extra sunlight, we here at RuckusRoots are feeling very inspired to get going with some amazing programs this year.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

–Moved office spaces; our new home base is in Glassell Park, Los Angeles, still in beautiful, bustling Northeast LA.

–Planted an urban garden in Glassell Park, Los Angeles, at our new home base.

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We planted lettuce, kale, carrots, tomatoes, basil, chives and more!

–Founder Christine Spehar got certified as a Kids Yoga Instructor through Adventure Yoga for Kids Teacher Training in Boulder, Colorado. This experience furthered her understanding of working with children of all ages and backgrounds, and of the important tie between body awareness and creativity in the young.

Here’s what’s in the works:

–So many new collaborations are in the works with great organizations like The LA River Revitalization Corp, Makerspace LA and the Friends of Griffith Park. More to be announced soon!

–Artist Mentor Rebekah Waites is planning a new school TRASHformation program with us, details coming soon.

–A new Chimes for Change program is in the planning stages, to be announced soon.

If you’d like to be involved in any of our programs, please feel free to contact us and Join the Ruckus!

 

Happy Halloween from RuckusRoots!

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We here at RuckusRoots love Halloween….with the emphasis on candy and playing dress up, what’s not to like? October is also our founder’s birthday month, so there’s that. No matter what you do this Halloween, we want to remind you that picking a costume is a perfect opportunity to get creative with “throw away” materials you have lying around the house. Instead of going out and buying a new wig, why not create one out of newspaper, or make jewelry out of spray painted plastic bottles? The options are endless for recycled art this Halloween….let us know what you come up with!

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This week during TRASHformation: Fabric Mache

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Last week saw a lot of progress made in our TRASHformation program at Academia Avance middle school in Highland Park. Since the students had recently learned how to create a small 3D sculptural model, it was now time to think about how we will create the “skin” of our piece. Besides mentoring the students, Rebekah Waites and some very dedicated volunteers (thanks, Doug!) are simultaneously building the large structure. With the overabundance of fabric materials the community donated we thought it best to put those to good use. We introduced the students to a new art method known as “fabric mache”. “Fabric Mache” is in sense very similar to paper mache, it is the cross-stitching of strips of fabric that have been dipped in a solution of glue and water; once dry it becomes a stiff shell that can be painted and/or drilled.

In these upcoming weeks we will begin working towards designing and “stuffing” the interior of the sculpture, ensuring the strength and durability of the bear. We are still searching for a suitable home for this art piece at a Highland Park art gallery. Let us know if you have any leads!

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Interview with a Highland Park Innovator

     Many believe the first step towards change begins with one’s self; this belief has proven to be more than just an idea to an extraordinary Highland Park resident. Chan Wing Lam has proven himself much more than just a loving husband and father, but also an innovator who has recently acted upon his lifelong interest in electrical engineering and the world of eco-friendly living.

     Born and raised in Hong Kong, China, Lam first found his interest in electrical maintenance when in high school. Moving to America in 1984, he began working long hours in a seafood restaurant and later as a BBQ chef. It was not too long ago that he began putting his time into solar powered apparatuses to help cut back the cost of his electricity bill.

     In 2013 he started his first solar panel project with broken glass windows and pieces acquired via eBay. Today he has several panels installed over the roof of his home and is even attempting to build a windmill. Each panel produces around 130 watts that go into one of his 3 inverters he has set up around his home. We got a chance to take a look inside his home and workshop to see for ourselves his mechanical endeavors.

     Within a day and a half, and given the right materials, Lam can build one of his solar-powered automatons all by himself. He has given no thought to passing on his knowledge of mechanical money-savers down to a new generation, but did seem intrigued when posed with the question. Although his legacy may end with him, it has influenced the way Highland Park residents think about conservation. With the sight of his home just across the street from Franklin High School, hundreds of students pass by noticing not only his solar panels, but also his front yard garden full of vegetation he grows for his family.

 

Chimes for Change: A Success at Soundwalk 2013

RuckusRoots premieres ‘Chimes for Change’ at Soundwalk 

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Last Saturday, Loyola High School students from our pilot ‘Chimes for Change‘ program displayed over 30 wind chime sound installations at Soundwalk, one of the country’s biggest sound art exhibits, in Long Beach. The program was a collaboration with music and sound art teacher Steven Speciale and visual artist James Peterson. Students worked with RuckusRoots over 6 weeks to fabricate wind chimes out of recycled materials, each one expressing a sustainability issue through their piece.

Soundwalk attendees not only got to view the collection chimes, but also scan QR codes affixed to each piece using their smart phones. The code allowed them access each artist’s electronic song as well as  read his artist statement, which described the sustainability issue inspired by the chime.

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After working with Peterson to conceptualize and build their chimes, Speciale taught students how to create electronic music using Yellofier, a digital song making application. The students recorded their chimes and then composed songs using those sounds in Yellofier.

The students’ songs and statements will be available on our Chimes for Change page in the next week. We are excited to continue Chimes for Change with several community organizations across Los Angeles, and can’t wait to share the results with you!

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Thanks to Monching Flores for the images

First Listen: Songs by Chimes for Change Participants

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A student made his chime out of recycled bottles, picture by Monching Flores

The pilot of our Chimes for Change program is humming along nicely, and we’re excited to give you a sneak peek of student songs!

This weekend, we’re revealing our students’ hard work at Soundwalk 2013, a premier sound art exhibition in Long Beach, CA. Over the last couple months, students from Loyola High School worked with RuckusRoots to make wind chimes out of recycled materials, each one representing a sustainability issue important to the artist. Along with making the chimes, students learned how to use a mobile application called Yellofier to record sounds from their chimes and turn them into electronic music compositions.

Steven Speciale, a music composer and sound art teacher at Loyola High School, collaborated with us on this aspect of the program. Some of the students’ songs are already posted on his blog. Below are two of them for your listening enjoyment, along with accompanying artist statements.

To see and hear more like this, please join us at Soundwalk this Saturday! At our installation, you’ll find a QR code next to each chime. Scanning it with your smartphone will yield access to the artist’s song and statement. If you’re wondering which sustainability and community issues matter to the youth of this community, here’s your chance to find out. The conversation has begun, thanks to these creative young people!

Mamá by Andy Bregazo

Sustainability is the capacity to endure, so my mom, who has cancer, would be great inspiration for my project. My mom has to constantly endure and keep herself healthy everyday without any breaks. The chime’s frame is a heart, and various things that represent moms in general. Also, the CD’s that are hanging down say “Love” in 6 different languages. The nails represent my mom holding me together, even when the times are rough. Also, the forks and spoons represent the nourishment that my mom provides for me. In all, the chime is a representation of my mom and all the things that she provides for me.

Wind Chime Song by Gilmore Agustus

Everyday, nearly forty percent of the 4.4 billion tons of food produced in the United States is wasted each year. Shelved food within an average supermarket or restaurant is thrown away at an alarming rate, showing the inefficiency of the food distribution industry. My wind chime addresses this issue, using various pieces of silverware and small trinkets suspended by a hanger. The various silverware are representations of this issue.

Off the Grid for a Greater Good

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Not many people can say that they’ve even traveled across the country, let alone cycled across its entirety. And that’s not even the impressive part. Rob Greenfield set out with a mission to ride across the US living entirely off the grid. Meaning he would eat locally produced, organic, and unpackaged foods, use water solely from natural sources like rivers, wells, and rain, use electricity generated purely by portable alternative energy devices, create near zero trash​, compost all food waste, and shop at businesses that are committed to creating a healthy planet.

And on August 2nd, after 104 days, 4,700 miles and 18 states, he did just that.

His trip began in San Francisco in April  and ended in Waitsfield, Vermont. That’s the location of 1% for the Planet, Greenfield is promoting the alliance of businesses that donate 1 percent of their revenues to environmental organizations.

Greenfield, from San Diego, decided to make the journey because he was  determined to demonstrate that it’s possible to live more sustainably, also to encourage people to decrease their impact on the environment. And to get peoples attention (even biking naked at times!) and not only thinking of living more consciously, he wanted to show it was actually possible. 

During the trip, Greenfield would often dumpster dive for food that was still good or fill his water bottle with leaky faucets or half empty water bottles he found. When it came time for cleaning up, he bathed in rivers, oceans and lakes. While he claims that biking wasn’t about his message at all, even the bamboo bike he rode was used to promote the elimination of deforestation.

 

For more on his adventure and pictures from  his trip check out the GreenfieldAdventures website.

 Photo by Brent Martin