Tag: youth outreach

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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! 

 

 

 

 

Wild Art Summer Camps with RuckusRoots!

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This summer we had a blast leading some wildlife and art-based workshops with local kids. Based on our middle school-aged program Wild Art, these workshops were geared towards younger kids and held in Northeast LA at Heartbeat House Dance Studio. We taught our participants about local wildlife, like the mountain lion, trout, falcon and monarch butterfly. Then the children got to decorate paper animal templates with fun recycled art supplies and paint. As always, it was a great way to get creative and start the learning process about nature and sustainability for these youngsters!

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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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In Full Swing: TRASHformation in Highland Park


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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.

Day 2: Academia Avance’s TRASHformation

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.

 

 

 

New TRASHformation Program Begins at Academia Avance

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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

Thank You, Highland Park Neighborhood Council

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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!