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!
We’re very excited to announce we’re starting a new TRASHformation program at Academia Avance in Highland Park on April 15th. We will be working with new artist mentor Nino Alicea, with 120 youth from April 15th-June 4th.
We teamed up with 127 middle school students from Academia Avance in Highland Park, CA to create an interactive sculpture made from recycled materials. The program, called TRASHformation, was the only arts education the students received all semester.
At the beginning of the program, we asked participants to come up with ideas for an art piece that would positively affect their community. The winning idea, by 11-year-old Brisa Cabrera Diaz, is entitled “Your Hug,” and is an 11-foot tall sculpture of a teddy bear that absorbs feelings. As Diaz wrote in her proposal, “My art piece is of emotion. When you’re sad you hug it and when you’re mad you can talk to it about your madness. Express your feelings to it.”
RuckusRoots worked with artist Rebekah Waites and five classes of middle school students over the spring semester to collaboratively build the sculpture. Students learned creative problem solving and artistic techniques such as sculptural modeling and fabric mache. Almost every piece of material used to make the sculpture was donated or found in the Highland Park community, including scrap wood, old bed frames, plastic containers, donated fabric, and mattress foam.
The sculpture has several potential new homes, including the Academia Avance High School Campus, and a short stint at the Burning Man Arts Festival. We are hoping to place it at another local gallery for the duration of June and July, 2014. Please contact us if interested in hosting the bear.
If you were wondering what RuckusRoots was up to this April, look no further than CryoChrome, one of the must sought after art installations on display during this years Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, CA.
We spent 18 days in the desert to help make CryoChrome come to life. The piece was the brain child of LA artist and RuckusRoots collaborator James Peterson. This was Peterson’s first commissioned art piece for Coachella, and we are proud to say it was a success!
The interactive sculpture was roughly 40 feet long and 20 feet tall, and was based on Russian ice caves. Affectionately dubbed ‘the rainbow tunnel,’ the outside of the piece was covered in a skin of over 20,000 recycled CD’s (yay for recycled materials!) while the inside of the tunnel was vaccu-formed plastic walls covered in color-changing LED lighting. As you walked through the piece, the walls rotated around you, creating an optical illusion that left festival goers dizzy and exhilarated. Lines remained long throughout both weekends of the festival; we estimated at least 70,000 viewers experienced the sculpture each weekend.
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!
With our TRASHformation program in full swing at Academia Avance middle school, we decided to push the flow of creativity and excitement by having each student prototype their original sculpture ideas. We did this so each student could gain a greater understanding of the process to creating their own large-scale art piece; from drafting art proposals to making miniature scale models, each student is contributing to and making progress towards our final large-scale sculpture. In our previous class we had each student build the body and form of each work, this week we moved on to painting the exterior with a base coat of white. Soon the students will have their own piece of art to take home, along with the large sculpture, which we will display in the community.
With the miniature projects nearly done, we had eager students help contribute to building the base and structure of the sculpture. We composed our base from recycled bed frames and had already formed its structure from recycled wood and chicken wire. While working with the dangerous tools was a task left to the artist mentors, many students helped out where they could, whether it was painting the base or helping form the body with chicken wire. It was a rewarding day! We closed shop with great hopes for the next week.
We started off classes by introducing the selected art proposal from last week, which will serve as inspiration towards our final project. The winner, Brisa Cabrera Diaz, age 11, wrote her proposal based on her experience with her teddy bear, which makes her feel better when she hugs it. She wrote of an individual capable of expressing his/her feelings freely to something so safe and pure, titling her concept “Your Hug”. To reflect this, the piece we build with the students will be a giant teddy bear that can “absorb” the feelings of the community with its glowing LED heart. We are planning to build the piece using old stuffed animals, toys, books, etc. The concept reflects warm ideas that focus on the emotional well being of the community and the artist herself.
In order to collect the materials to make our art piece, we had a few classes begin making posters asking for donations. Anything from old shoes and clothes to discarded toys and books will do.
Next week we will collect the materials, take inventory and begin planning our design.
This past Tuesday, January 21st, marked the kick-off of our TRASHformation project with the Academia Avance Middle School students in Lincoln Heights. We are very excited to find out what ideas these kids have in store for our lead artist, Miss Rebekah Waites (creator of the Church Trap). From prep-time at 8:00 a.m. to dismissal at 3:00, we worked eagerly to instill enthusiasm and creativity in our new batch of students. Never having worked with such a large quantity of young people (over 100 students) before, we made great headway in the five smaller classes, averaging around 27 young artists each.
We started with a few videos to catch their attention, revealing Christine and Rebekah’s past work. We followed this with a break down of TRASHformation, and afterwards handed out art proposal worksheets to get the students thinking. One winning idea will be chosen from the students’ submissions. From jaguars and teddy bears to skateboards and peace signs, these little ones had big ideas. Getting back at it on Monday, we’re excited to begin collecting materials. The students will be designing their own waste baskets and flyers to promote the program. We may even reach out to local businesses to find out if they can donate surplus materials to our cause.
We are pleased to announce the Highland Park Neighborhood Council has awarded us a Neighborhood Purpose Grant to support the upcoming TRASHformation we will be conducting with middle school students from Academia Avance. The program starts on Tuesday, January 21st, and we couldn’t be more excited, and thrilled to have the support of the community! Thank you, Highland Park Neighborhood Council!
RuckusRoots premieres ‘Chimes for Change’ at Soundwalk
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.
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!