It’s a perfect way to spend Earth Day, if you ask me. We are starting our second week at Academia Avance today, where we are running a community art program focused on sustainability and endangered urban wildlife. Today, I asked the students to think about what sustainability means to them, and then we learned color theory with artist mentor Nino Alicea. The students created their own color wheels, making them in any shape they could imagine. The program will continue for the next seven weeks. We’re very excited for what’s in store, stay tuned!
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.
–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!
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!
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.
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.
-Written by Milagros Vizcaino and Andres Guzman
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!
This week we began the pilot community art program ‘Chimes for Change,’ a music-based variation of TRASHformation. We’re working with students from Loyola High School to fabricate mobile sound installations, or wind chimes, made from found and recycled materials.
Unlike TRASHformation programs in the past, Chimes for Change participants have the opportunity to create their own personal art piece–a wind chime–that aims to explore the relationship between sustainability and the arts. The chime might represent a personal theme or one of which that addresses an issue the artist sees in his/her own community regarding sustainability.
Artist James Peterson of Art & Contraptions, is helping students with the construction and fabrication of the chimes. As an experienced artist who has worked on small to large scale art pieces made with found or recycled materials, he will guide students in the hands-on process of constructing their art pieces.
Using sounds derived from recordings of the chimes, the students will also create experimental, electronically-based songs and audio-visual art pieces. Both the chimes made in this program as well as the collaboratively composed songs have been accepted to show at Sound Walk 2013, one of the country’s largest sound art exhibitions, held in Long Beach on October 5th.
As opportunities for Chimes for Change continue to manifest we are constantly discovering new ways this program could be used to explore the vital role that art can have in guiding us towards more sustainable lifestyles.
“Far from being irrelevant to social change, the arts is the only way through which we may gain an appreciation of our common humanity, it is the only thing that can teach us to love the world enough to protect and defend it.” Clara Fang
See one of our recent TRASHformations in action and hear what our participants have to say about it.
After completing our collaborative art piece with Legacy LA youth, RuckusRoots and a few of the participants presented ‘Eye in the Sky’ to members of the Ramona Gardens community at the Legacy LA facilities, where it will permanently be on display.
The event , called ‘Youth Teach In’ was orchestrated by third year members of Legacy’s Youth Council Program, where they presented and discussed some of the pressing issues facing Ramona Gardens today, such as air quality, safety and food access. The program is for youth between the ages of 14-18; they meet weekly to participate in social justice and political education workshops, learning strategies and skills to organize their communities.
After the discussion, participants from RuckusRoots’ TRASHformation at Legacy took the time to explain why they made the sculpture and what it meant to them, echoing the safety and surveillance issues the Youth Council addressed. The piece explores themes of perspective: what the cameras see and what they don’t, the true Ramona Gardens (both positive and negative aspects) as seen through the eyes of our participants. Our youth explained that the surveillance cameras give them the feeling of being constantly watched. Our tree-shaped sculpture displays images the youth took, both positive and negative, and is then topped with a large paper mache eye, meant to evoke this theme of perception, both that of the police and of the actual community members.
It was great to see the participants present their work and then answer questions from a to a captivated audience. The sculpture, meant to be a statement piece, definitely made people take a second look and think deeper about an issue that’s important to Ramona Gardens.
We hope to get the piece displayed or presented to city council with some of the youth we worked with, to address the surveillance camera issue.